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# IB in the US - how many days off per year on average?

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29 Nov 2009, 08:34
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Wow, I found this thread to be very helpful. Also a big frightening. I have a question that may very well be stupid, but please bear with me, since I don't know much about finance at all. Are we talking about all career paths for investment banks? Are there careers that you can have working for investment banks where while the compensation may be smaller, you'll work smaller hours? Thanks.
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10 Jan 2010, 07:50
In Canada you can work for investment bankers and have great hours. My wife is a financial planner for TD Waterhouse. Her compensation is salary+, so she doesn't make as much as somebody working for an investment firm on straight commission. The tradeoff is that she has very flexible work hours. She only works 35-45 hours a week and she can determine her own hours based on when she schedules appointments with clients.

Obviously, things are different if you're looking to be on the trading floor/options desk or such.
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19 Jan 2010, 17:12
great thread going on here, although the tone gradually deteriorated at some point in the middle. i just wanted to pose a few more questions:

1) how has the recent downturn in the economy affected the banking culture? (it's easy enough to get this info from the news or media, but i figured getting some firsthand responses would be best). for example, i'm assuming the $$(which was a big draw in the field) has been cut, but at the same time i highly doubt the hours have been cut. if anything, i'm assuming the hours are greater, with so many layoffs and such. 2) if #1 is true, then how does that change the content of the earlier posts (basically touting IB as a low risk, high reward way to either "make it" somewhere, get paid the big bucks, or both)? has the culture really changed? is it too early to tell? _________________ Current Student Joined: 16 Aug 2009 Posts: 344 Schools: Columbia Business School - Class of 2012 Followers: 3 Kudos [?]: 37 [0], given: 22 Re: IB in the US - how many days off per year on average? [#permalink] ### Show Tags 19 Jan 2010, 22:55 shadowsjc wrote: great thread going on here, although the tone gradually deteriorated at some point in the middle. i just wanted to pose a few more questions: 1) how has the recent downturn in the economy affected the banking culture? (it's easy enough to get this info from the news or media, but i figured getting some firsthand responses would be best). for example, i'm assuming the$$$(which was a big draw in the field) has been cut, but at the same time i highly doubt the hours have been cut. if anything, i'm assuming the hours are greater, with so many layoffs and such. 2) if #1 is true, then how does that change the content of the earlier posts (basically touting IB as a low risk, high reward way to either "make it" somewhere, get paid the big bucks, or both)? has the culture really changed? is it too early to tell? http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/2 ... uses-at-bb This doesn't seem to indicate much of anything has been cut. The only real difference is that a portion of the bonus will be paid in stock that vests over a longer period (I believe this may have been the case pre-crash too, though, can anyone verify?). Manager Joined: 07 Nov 2009 Posts: 160 Location: Milan, Italy Schools: Booth (admitted R1), NYU (interview Mar 4), UT (withdrawn), Rice (admitted R2) plus dings at HBS, Stanford, Wharton and CBS WE 1: Oil and gas Followers: 4 Kudos [?]: 29 [0], given: 6 Re: IB in the US - how many days off per year on average? [#permalink] ### Show Tags 25 Jan 2010, 06:40 I'm not planning to target IB myself, but this was an interesting thread! At first blush, the typical IB lifestyle does sound crazy to the uninitiated. Summarising what I've read here, and adding my input from friends in the industry, it seems like the "base" case for working time seems to be 9-10am till 9-10pm. Then you have to factor in plenty of weekends and late nights when things heat up. This sounded extremely unpalatable to me at first, but I thought about my own target profession (research, then IM), which will require me to haul my ass into the office before 7am every morning, with a view to getting out between 7pm and 8pm. I do not consider these to be "long hours" and would be happy to sustain this kind of schedule. Yet I wouldn't be working much less than IB, if my first paragraph is accurate. What's my point? Just that the IB lifestyle isn't as ridiculous as I first thought, as an outsider. I'm going for IM because I like stocks, not because I perceive the lifestyle to be more acceptable. The hours suit me better anyway, because I don't mind early starts but I do like evenings and weekends. However, if corporate finance really was my thing, I could probably get used to it. _________________ If I said something intelligent, it was probably by accident. But click "kudos" anyway - it will make me happy. Manager Joined: 07 Nov 2009 Posts: 160 Location: Milan, Italy Schools: Booth (admitted R1), NYU (interview Mar 4), UT (withdrawn), Rice (admitted R2) plus dings at HBS, Stanford, Wharton and CBS WE 1: Oil and gas Followers: 4 Kudos [?]: 29 [0], given: 6 Re: IB in the US - how many days off per year on average? [#permalink] ### Show Tags 25 Jan 2010, 06:43 Another thought: how do you 100+ hour/week folks find time to work out? If I was pulling 14 hours a day I wouldn't feel bad about finding a quiet half hour most days to have a blast in the gym - I guess most firms have them. Would this make me unpopular? _________________ If I said something intelligent, it was probably by accident. But click "kudos" anyway - it will make me happy. Current Student Joined: 04 Nov 2009 Posts: 124 Schools: Tuck - Class of 2012 Followers: 2 Kudos [?]: 43 [0], given: 1 Re: IB in the US - how many days off per year on average? [#permalink] ### Show Tags 26 Jan 2010, 17:02 If you want to work out you can, you just have to make time for it. Go in the morning if youre in a late group, or at lunch and then eat at your desk afterwards. Just depends on how dedicated you are. Senior Manager Joined: 25 Jul 2007 Posts: 378 Location: Times Square Schools: Baruch / Zicklin Followers: 4 Kudos [?]: 38 [0], given: 148 Re: IB in the US - how many days off per year on average? [#permalink] ### Show Tags 26 Jan 2010, 18:00 I would argue that a gym in your apartment building is a far more important amenity than the laundry room... I say this because, if you are working insane hours, you can almost always find a good 10-20 minutes per day (before leaving for work, after work) to do at least some cardio. But as the person above me said, this is nothing if you're not motivated/dedicated enough. Manager Joined: 22 Jan 2010 Posts: 121 Schools: UCLA, INSEAD Followers: 2 Kudos [?]: 5 [1] , given: 15 Re: IB in the US - how many days off per year on average? [#permalink] ### Show Tags 26 Jan 2010, 22:06 1 This post received KUDOS Great post. Having worked in both US and overseas, I feel sort of sad and disappointed in how little vacation/time off people get in the US. I know so many people in the US get less than 10 days of vacation in a year and have to work beyond the age of 65 to retire. Intern Joined: 16 Mar 2010 Posts: 4 Followers: 0 Kudos [?]: 5 [2] , given: 1 Re: IB in the US - how many days off per year on average? [#permalink] ### Show Tags 30 Mar 2010, 09:22 2 This post received KUDOS agold wrote: pelihu wrote: A fourth way to look at it is that bankers will make more in 10-15 years than people in most other industries will in their entire careers. The implications of this are obvious, especially for those that plan ahead and see the big picture. If you're good at what you do, you can start seeing 7 figure paydays after 5-7 years; how many million dollar paychecks do you need before you can start thinking about hanging them up? It's silly to just think about life as a first year associate and the salary of a first year associate. Many SVP/Directors leave before 6PM every day and take home money by the barrel - in fact I just had a chat about this yesterday with a soon-to-be MD as he headed out the door at 5:15 (he leaves before 6 every day). I doubt it's the goal of very many people to work 100 hours or be on the road 4-5 nights every week to make$2-300k; but I think many people can see working 60 hours a week and bringing home $1mm or more (maybe lots more). Excellent, thoughtful post. I agree with most things you just mentioned. The only thing that I disagree with is when you mentioned that many bankers tend to be "thrifty" or save a lot. I'm really not sure about the banking culture in LA, but from what I know of the bankers in Chicago - almost all of them are big spenders. The junior guys live in some of the city's most expensive neighborhoods and the senior guys almost all tend to live along the North Shore suburbs lining Lake Michigan. They did not go into investment banking so that they could live alongside the upper-middle class families making$250K/year - they went into banking so that they could reasonably fit into the upper class. Along with living in these neighborhoods and maintaining this social standing obviously come several other demands - private schools for the kids, new cars, jewelry, designer clothes, etc. It's really just part of being a conformist and living in a large metropolitan area. I don't think you're going to find very many investment bankers living like Warren Buffett. From what I have seen in Chicago, most of them seem to consistently upgrade their lifestyles as they move up the ranks and they become slaves to the year end bonus check.

The entitlement on display in both posts is barf inducing. $250k/year salary is not chump change and can easily buy you most of the houses in the North Shore suburbs as well as a very large condo in a nice neighborhood of the city. The average household income in the nicest suburbs of Chicagoland don't even surpass$80k.

It's hard to become a Director/MD. Most who pursue the IB track fall quite short of that goal. Don't start fantasizing about that \$1 million plus salary before you even start B-school.

Last edited by carlos1 on 30 Mar 2010, 09:37, edited 1 time in total.
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30 Mar 2010, 09:35
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tan888 wrote:
Great post. Having worked in both US and overseas, I feel sort of sad and disappointed in how little vacation/time off people get in the US. I know so many people in the US get less than 10 days of vacation in a year and have to work beyond the age of 65 to retire.

I took time off between school and FT work, and I was amazed at the number of Australians, Canadians, and Europeans doing the same thing. I held my head in shame and was somewhat ostracized for my 6-month break by people back home, so of course my jaw dropped when I saw this was the norm for young people in other countries, many of them taking 1-2 years on average. I then was amazed by the fact that most other countries get around 6 weeks vacation as the norm.

I definitely do not think the American system of excruciatingly long hours (even for modest jobs), hesitance to actually leave the desk and take a lunch break, vacation hours going unused due to "hidden pressure" is conducive to our overall work culture or productivity. I really wish we would wake up and realize that people who have time to pursue recreational interests along with work are a lot more productive and make for better people to be around in general. Alas, I don't see that happening in our culture at all, in fact, I see us running even further into work overload (just look at the number of people doing two jobs due to layoffs), it's just our (damn backward) system.
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Re: IB in the US - how many days off per year on average? [#permalink]

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08 Jun 2010, 08:27
Great thread guys! some of you guys are legendary! (pelihu, riverripper n gang) amazing commitment.

I am going into a top 10 US b school this fall. I have 4 years in a corporate finance/financial planning/financial analysis experience in a global MNC. I was lucky to wing an internship with a small investment bank in Asia (big global bank with a small IB shop) this april and i am currently doing an internship before leaving for school in july/august. i want to go into IB after my MBA. i have a few concerns which i wanted clarified from the experts in this forum:

1. face time. this is a real downer for me as far as my internship is concerned. sometimes at 7pm, i do not have work to do, but i am still expected to stick arnd (was told explicitly) incase some work comes up at 9 or 10. question is does this happen at BB internships/FT associate job? It generally makes for a very inefficient work environment just waiting around.

2. Attention to detail: this seems to be dependent on who reviews your work. are all BB associates/analysts anal about numbers being 100% right? sometimes small things don't matter as things can be very grey esp. assumptions in a model etc. i understand glaring mistakes like grammatical stuff and comma, fullstops etc. but i m talking about the accounting adjustments that don't swing the big picture. do ppl over obsess about tiny details just to "provide comments'? or does this differ from team to team or even person to person.

3. I am finding the work quite boring/mundane/mind-numbing ~70% of the time. does this improve after the first 1 or 2 years as an associate? I am assuming I am getting the worst work as an intern right now.

4. worried about exit options as an mba associate two years into IB. I talked to a couple of MDs and I felt they feel stuck in IB (asin they are unable to find MD level equivalent roles outside of IB). I am assuming it is easier to transition to buyside after 2 years in IB as an associate? Also, anyone can tell me clearly the options available to someone 2 yrs in IB out of a bschool (assume BB). most options i hear about (PE/HF/VC etc.) seem to be more accesible/valid for 2nd/3rd year analysts.

5. Can someone throw some light on relative cultures across BBs in US? for ex. GS is known for teamwork, XYZ is known to be a tough place/longer than usual hours etc. any input will be great on this front. might be useful in recruiting as well as i feel culture is very imp when choosing IB employers.

6. do you guys see significant difference in the quality of work done by an associate and an analyst after 1 yr of joining the firm? does it get more analytical or thinking kinds or broadly more interesting than what it is in the 1st year after mba when you presumably are learning all the stuff and hence do a lot of grunt work.

lots of questions, i know, but i m hoping this will useful to all in general.

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08 Jun 2010, 10:24
I think face time is pretty much just a reality of the industry at the analyst and associate levels. As far as I'm aware, VPs and MDs have a lot more flexibility to work from home and just get the job done as opposed to putting in face time. However, they also travel significantly more (on average 3 days/week I think?).
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14 Jun 2010, 05:44
I know corporate finance people who work from 9-9, and I know corporate finance people who work 8am-2am, literally.

It depends on the firm, the culture, the group you work for, and your manager (and frankly, quite a bit your direct same-level peers). If the analysts and associates stay out of fear of retribution, then guess what - you're gonna sit your pretty self until 11pm just to not look like a slacker.

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22 Jun 2010, 02:33
Does someone knows about the hours and days off in London, Paris, Zurich and Milan ? My impression is that in Switzerland the IB pay as much as in NYC but without the insane hours.
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30 Jun 2010, 05:39
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yakku wrote:
Great thread guys! some of you guys are legendary! (pelihu, riverripper n gang) amazing commitment.

I am going into a top 10 US b school this fall. I have 4 years in a corporate finance/financial planning/financial analysis experience in a global MNC. I was lucky to wing an internship with a small investment bank in Asia (big global bank with a small IB shop) this april and i am currently doing an internship before leaving for school in july/august. i want to go into IB after my MBA. i have a few concerns which i wanted clarified from the experts in this forum:

1. face time. this is a real downer for me as far as my internship is concerned. sometimes at 7pm, i do not have work to do, but i am still expected to stick arnd (was told explicitly) incase some work comes up at 9 or 10. question is does this happen at BB internships/FT associate job? It generally makes for a very inefficient work environment just waiting around.

2. Attention to detail: this seems to be dependent on who reviews your work. are all BB associates/analysts anal about numbers being 100% right? sometimes small things don't matter as things can be very grey esp. assumptions in a model etc. i understand glaring mistakes like grammatical stuff and comma, fullstops etc. but i m talking about the accounting adjustments that don't swing the big picture. do ppl over obsess about tiny details just to "provide comments'? or does this differ from team to team or even person to person.

3. I am finding the work quite boring/mundane/mind-numbing ~70% of the time. does this improve after the first 1 or 2 years as an associate? I am assuming I am getting the worst work as an intern right now.

4. worried about exit options as an mba associate two years into IB. I talked to a couple of MDs and I felt they feel stuck in IB (asin they are unable to find MD level equivalent roles outside of IB). I am assuming it is easier to transition to buyside after 2 years in IB as an associate? Also, anyone can tell me clearly the options available to someone 2 yrs in IB out of a bschool (assume BB). most options i hear about (PE/HF/VC etc.) seem to be more accesible/valid for 2nd/3rd year analysts.

5. Can someone throw some light on relative cultures across BBs in US? for ex. GS is known for teamwork, XYZ is known to be a tough place/longer than usual hours etc. any input will be great on this front. might be useful in recruiting as well as i feel culture is very imp when choosing IB employers.

6. do you guys see significant difference in the quality of work done by an associate and an analyst after 1 yr of joining the firm? does it get more analytical or thinking kinds or broadly more interesting than what it is in the 1st year after mba when you presumably are learning all the stuff and hence do a lot of grunt work.

lots of questions, i know, but i m hoping this will useful to all in general.

Here are my two cents:

1. face time. this is a real downer for me as far as my internship is concerned. sometimes at 7pm, i do not have work to do, but i am still expected to stick arnd (was told explicitly) incase some work comes up at 9 or 10. question is does this happen at BB internships/FT associate job? It generally makes for a very inefficient work environment just waiting around.

There is a certain level of facetime with every job but your situation is different because you're an intern. I have never in all my 4yrs of banking come across a situation where a full-time analyst or associate is told to just wait around in case there's work unless there's a reasonable expectation that some work might be on the way. In most places, the senior folk want you to get out early when you can because they know you'll probably not get the chance to leave at 7pm for another month. However, as an intern you really shouldn't be trying to leave at 7pm, even if you have nothing to do.

2. Attention to detail: this seems to be dependent on who reviews your work. are all BB associates/analysts anal about numbers being 100% right? sometimes small things don't matter as things can be very grey esp. assumptions in a model etc. i understand glaring mistakes like grammatical stuff and comma, fullstops etc. but i m talking about the accounting adjustments that don't swing the big picture. do ppl over obsess about tiny details just to "provide comments'? or does this differ from team to team or even person to person.

Yes, banking is all about anal-retentiveness. You should be happy the comments are about numbers and not font size! There are all sorts of reasons why things are this way. We'll need a new thread to get to the bottom of it.

3. I am finding the work quite boring/mundane/mind-numbing ~70% of the time. does this improve after the first 1 or 2 years as an associate? I am assuming I am getting the worst work as an intern right now.

Yup! "Boring/mundane/mind-numbing" comes with intern territory. Who else will do the boring stuff? The VPs? Haha!

4. worried about exit options as an mba associate two years into IB. I talked to a couple of MDs and I felt they feel stuck in IB (asin they are unable to find MD level equivalent roles outside of IB). I am assuming it is easier to transition to buyside after 2 years in IB as an associate? Also, anyone can tell me clearly the options available to someone 2 yrs in IB out of a bschool (assume BB). most options i hear about (PE/HF/VC etc.) seem to be more accesible/valid for 2nd/3rd year analysts.

You should not go into IB expecting to exit in 2yrs because there are few exit options for a 2nd-year associate. Exiting IB after only two years will mean starting over (in a majority of cases). Most people wait until they make VP and then try to get senior level roles in Corp. Dev. teams at Corporates. Occasionally, you'll find the odd VP or ED making the move to PE or HF (not because PE/HF positions are not desirable but because there are few openings that match any given set of deal exposure).

5. Can someone throw some light on relative cultures across BBs in US? for ex. GS is known for teamwork, XYZ is known to be a tough place/longer than usual hours etc. any input will be great on this front. might be useful in recruiting as well as i feel culture is very imp when choosing IB employers.

I don't think anyone can give you an answer to this because culture varies at the group level. As an associate, your day-day existence is almost completely dependent on the senior bankers WITHIN the group. Firm culture is just scenery and backdrop to the action. Get into the most prestigious bank you can get into within your target region and then fight really hard to get into the "best" groups within that bank.

6. do you guys see significant difference in the quality of work done by an associate and an analyst after 1 yr of joining the firm? does it get more analytical or thinking kinds or broadly more interesting than what it is in the 1st year after mba when you presumably are learning all the stuff and hence do a lot of grunt work.

See reply to #3 above. The more senior you get (ceteri paribus), the more interesting your work gets.
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Re: IB in the US - how many days off per year on average? [#permalink]

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10 Aug 2010, 07:29
how do people in IB have a good family life? is seems to be one of those jobs in the movies where the parent misses pretty much all of his/her kids growing up. And how "stable" is IB compared to other post MBA careers? Obviously one has to work hard but are there many circumstances out of your control in IB that could lead to quick firings?
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10 Aug 2010, 09:00
shaselai wrote:
how do people in IB have a good family life? is seems to be one of those jobs in the movies where the parent misses pretty much all of his/her kids growing up.

Well, er, yeah. Though this might help with a good family life also...

Quote:
And how "stable" is IB compared to other post MBA careers? Obviously one has to work hard but are there many circumstances out of your control in IB that could lead to quick firings?

Banks will cut to the bone when necessary. Way more than nearly any other type of firm. I guess it comes down to being good - being good can save you from the first two rounds of cuts I would say. When the third round comes, it is a crapshoot.

Much like anything an economic collapse will cost you your job. There are a lot of 2007 and 2008 MBAs who can tell you an awful lot more.
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08 Sep 2010, 16:06
agold wrote:
Here's the part I don't get - how exactly do you drive home safely after these kinds of hours? Guys in New York have the subway and black cars, but in LA I am guessing that you have to drive yourself to and from work. Driving on 2 hours of sleep is about as bad, if not worse, than driving drunk.

Do you get black cars? Also, do people in LA have SeamlessWeb?

I was just visiting this thread and have a little anecdote on this topic. A co-worker of mine was driving home down Santa Monica Blvd at 2 or 3am after a long day at the office, maybe 18-19 hours. He had neglected to turn on his headlights and was merrily driving home. A police officer, no doubt cruising for drunks, pulled him over. My friend told him the story about working a long day. My buddy must have looked really messed up with bloodshot eyes because the cop had him do a sobriety test before sending him on his way, headlights on.

I only ever drove 1 mile each way so it wasn't as bad. I'm sure there are some much worse stories than this though.
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Re: IB in the US - how many days off per year on average? [#permalink]

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14 Oct 2010, 00:08
Very interesting thread to go through, and many interesting facts & opinions in there indeed. I have worked in Europe through the "crisis period" for an american bank. And have thought several times about shifting to NY, after all we are an american bank, so it should be easy enough. But always the one thing that stops me is the vacation policy. Here I get 5 weeks a year off, and everyone is encouraged to take it. There is just about no one in the team that leaves un-used vacations at the end of the year and it is perfectly acceptable to decide out of the blue to take a week off and go driving on the auto-bahn ... which is a bit I really love. In the US however, firstly the vacation policy is tiered and linked to your seniority, you don't get enough vacation allocation anyway and the worst bit is that at less than 5 years of experience level, you seldom get to use all of your vacation anyway.

I just refuse to live life like that. What is the point of all the money, if you have no time to travel and spend it I say ! Though I do believe it is this stringent vacation policy that makes all the people in NY assume all the days before 3-day weekends are half-days when they really aren't (this is something so irritating when you are in London, feels almost as if the NY guys are dying to take time off and at any excuse would just take a half day and run) ... Pre-bank weekend working days in London are not half-days ... so if thats something which you like, NY might be the place :d
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