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

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IB in the US - how many days off per year on average? [#permalink] New post 16 Jul 2008, 08:31
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Title is pretty obvious I guess.

With the crushing schedule, days off is an important factor to take into account. In the UK 20 days off per year is pretty much standard; what's the situation in the US? I heard 14-15 days, is that possible?

Thanks for the information!
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Re: IB in the US - how many days off per year on average? [#permalink] New post 16 Jul 2008, 08:36
Since we're speaking of quality of life, in attachment is an interesting survey over purchasing power in different cities in the world.

I didn't know that London was so much more expensive than NY...
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Re: IB in the US - how many days off per year on average? [#permalink] New post 16 Jul 2008, 08:58
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You need to remember that in the US there is a huge difference between days of vacation you get in your benefit package and what you are actually able to take. Also with the modern wonders of blackberrys dont think you can get away from it all even when on vacations. Especially the higher up you move.

IB has the WORST work/life balance you will find.
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Re: IB in the US - how many days off per year on average? [#permalink] New post 16 Jul 2008, 09:02
riverripper wrote:
You need to remember that in the US there is a huge difference between days of vacation you get in your benefit package and what you are actually able to take. Also with the modern wonders of blackberrys dont think you can get away from it all even when on vacations. Especially the higher up you move.

IB has the WORST work/life balance you will find.


Agreed - I believe analysts get 2 weeks but are generally only able to take 1 with their grueling schedule. I am not sure about associates.
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Re: IB in the US - how many days off per year on average? [#permalink] New post 16 Jul 2008, 09:31
riverripper wrote:
You need to remember that in the US there is a huge difference between days of vacation you get in your benefit package and what you are actually able to take. Also with the modern wonders of blackberrys dont think you can get away from it all even when on vacations. Especially the higher up you move.

IB has the WORST work/life balance you will find.


I have a hard time imagining that people cannot find any time to take 2 weeks off per year, especially at a higher level; even in London they manage to find time to take their holidays (and I can tell you that the London boys work their butt off). But then again I'm not familiar with the US work culture.

Blackberrys are another issue, although I don't REALLY mind those.

So, how many days do the associates in IB actually get? In my personal view 3 weeks is a minimum. Anything less than that would be tough.
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Re: IB in the US - how many days off per year on average? [#permalink] New post 16 Jul 2008, 10:12
The issue is if you want to keep your job then you dont want to have the reputation of the guy who is always going on vacation. If everyone else takes 1 week and you take 3 then it will stand out. Also, if a big deal is going on its very likely your vacation can be canceled. These days with so many layoffs going on its a safe bet that everyone is working harder and more often than usual.
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Re: IB in the US - how many days off per year on average? [#permalink] New post 16 Jul 2008, 10:21
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riverripper wrote:
The issue is if you want to keep your job then you dont want to have the reputation of the guy who is always going on vacation. If everyone else takes 1 week and you take 3 then it will stand out. Also, if a big deal is going on its very likely your vacation can be canceled. These days with so many layoffs going on its a safe bet that everyone is working harder and more often than usual.


To be honest I don't really care if I stand out because I take what's due to me. Might sound naive but I don't really agree with the work-more-than-your-colleagues-for-the-sake-of-working attitude; I think - read hope - that I'll be judged on other criteria. Moreover I'm not sure that people really do that, even in IB (I'm talking about Europe here). But I do agree on the canceled vacation issue, than can happen quite often.
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Re: IB in the US - how many days off per year on average? [#permalink] New post 16 Jul 2008, 10:33
Audio,

I appreciate where you are coming from, but I think you are being naive here. I work in finance (not ibanking) and any vacation whatsoever is frowned upon at my firm. Sure, we might get 3 weeks, but try taking all of the vacation and you will be met with snide comments and dirty looks. In finance, as in most careers, reputation is pretty much everything, and the fastest way to hose your career is to cause management to think you are not a team player or 110% contributor.

In one example, a woman worked for my firm and took the longest possible maternity leave (it was around 3-4 months since she had triplets). Most people take a week or two tops. She got canned for something "unrelated" shortly after she got back.
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Re: IB in the US - how many days off per year on average? [#permalink] New post 16 Jul 2008, 10:42
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I think, esp in IB, working is looked at as a macho thing and vacation as being weak. It really is true for much of corp america, face time counts for a lot.
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Re: IB in the US - how many days off per year on average? [#permalink] New post 16 Jul 2008, 10:52
sudden - absolutely true. I have (not to brag, seriously) 6-weeks of paid vacation a year but, for the past 5 years or so, have only managed to use 3 weeks or less each year. The rest of the time accumulates but anything over 60 days gets taken off (gone, not paid for) each yearly cycle. :evil: I'll take a day here and there, but I am never gone for more than 3 days (meaning fri-sat-sun or sat-sun-mon)...

You may have 10 weeks off, but no one likes it when you take that time off consecutively. I have never been away for more than 2-weeks in the near decade I've been working.............

I don't know if that applies or not, I am not working in Finance.
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sudden wrote:
Audio,

I work in finance (not ibanking) and any vacation whatsoever is frowned upon at my firm. Sure, we might get 3 weeks, but try taking all of the vacation and you will be met with snide comments and dirty looks. In finance, as in most careers, reputation is pretty much everything, and the fastest way to hose your career is to cause management to think you are not a team player or 110% contributor.

In one example, a woman worked for my firm and took the longest possible maternity leave (it was around 3-4 months since she had triplets). Most people take a week or two tops. She got canned for something "unrelated" shortly after she got back.

Last edited by TimeSquareDesi on 16 Jul 2008, 13:18, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: IB in the US - how many days off per year on average? [#permalink] New post 16 Jul 2008, 10:55
US and europe are about as different in terms of vacation as you can imagine. I would say the average american take time off around christmas then maybe one other period during the year. If you are in a field where that is the standard and you take all thats owed to you then you probably will hold back our advancement and bonuses. The people I know who had careers at the bulge bracket banks all told me not to do it if I planned on having a family and valuing that.
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Re: IB in the US - how many days off per year on average? [#permalink] New post 16 Jul 2008, 10:56
I'm going to have to agree with sudden here. You're talking about the IB lifestyle where you're basically a slave to the deals you work on...and if you have no deals to work on, you've got bigger problems than how many weeks vacation you can take. I don't think associates are much different from analysts in terms of time commitment and expectations, and I know that analysts rarely take vacation. However, I have heard of planned one week trips in August or similar, although I've also heard of Christmas plans getting routinely canceled. If you're worried about vacation time, IB might not be for you.
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Re: IB in the US - how many days off per year on average? [#permalink] New post 16 Jul 2008, 12:32
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Is there a different culture for Euro banks in US?
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Re: IB in the US - how many days off per year on average? [#permalink] New post 16 Jul 2008, 13:23
Nope.. Euro or US banks are pretty standard in the US.

As everyone has said, you're lucky to get to take off 2 weeks in the year.
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Re: IB in the US - how many days off per year on average? [#permalink] New post 16 Jul 2008, 13:25
If you want to work in IB and want a better work/life balance, you should be checking out boutiques. Much better work/life balance, but obviously less pay/bonus also.
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Re: IB in the US - how many days off per year on average? [#permalink] New post 16 Jul 2008, 13:30
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riverripper wrote:
The people I know who had careers at the bulge bracket banks all told me not to do it if I planned on having a family and valuing that.


It seems like most of the Managing Directors just work around 6AM-6PM and then go home and have dinner with their families. They do travel 2-3 days/week, but what senior executive doesn't?

The crazy hours are reserved for the junior people.
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Re: IB in the US - how many days off per year on average? [#permalink] New post 16 Jul 2008, 13:33
Yes. My comments regarding the hours were for associate level primarily.
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Re: IB in the US - how many days off per year on average? [#permalink] New post 16 Jul 2008, 14:05
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riverripper wrote:
You need to remember that in the US there is a huge difference between days of vacation you get in your benefit package and what you are actually able to take. Also with the modern wonders of blackberrys dont think you can get away from it all even when on vacations. Especially the higher up you move.

IB has the WORST work/life balance you will find.


All the comments about work & vacation in IB are true - at least for the associate level. I will say that I disagree with the comment that IB has the worst work/life balance. I believe it is true that you will work more hours in IB than in any other industry (at least among the major MBA destinations), but I think there are a lot more factors in the work/life thing.

Let's think about some of the major issues. First, would you rather work till 10PM on average, and go back to your own home each night, or would you rather be a consultant and return to your hotel room at 8PM four or five nights a week? In this comparison, I prefer banking because if I'm able to get off at 10 (no guarantee this will happen of course), I can still catch up with friends if they are out or whatever. I don't like being on the road all the time, but beyond that I'm not a fan of spending time in the aiport and on planes.

This kind of leads to the next point. I was lucky enough to land an internship in LA; and the other destinations for banking are NY (the vast majority) and SF. When my work day ends, whenever that may be, I'll be in LA (or NY or SF). I won't be in Omaha or Detroit or Kansas City. No offense to anyone in those cities (well, maybe just a little :lol:), but I'd rather leave the office at 10PM in LA than at 6PM in Cleveland. Yes, yes, I know people from Cincinnati and Oklahoma City and Boise (have I insulted enough places yet?) are going to get all fired up to write about how great it is to live in those places, but let's be serious. To me, work/life balance would be unbearable if I had to live in [INSERT CITY I HAVEN'T YET INSTULTED HERE], or if I lived in a great city but had to spend 4-5 days a week traveling to various unsavory destinations. I couldn't take that. It kind of reminds me of the argument about cost of living. It's so bad in SF or NY, and it's so much cheaper in Milwaukee...yeah, but you have to live in Milwaukee!!! If I'm able to slip away from work at midnight, I can meet friends for drinks at the Beverly Hills Hotel or a night club with a single name (yeowie); big difference from handing out at the hotel bar in Peoria.

Which leads to a final point (kind of related). If you work in SF or LA or NY, when you do get some free time, you have world class ammenities at your fingertips (these aren't the only cities of course). Exciting new restaurants, cultural events, music, sports, etc. In other cities? Not so much; I mean how many times can you visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (sorry Cleveland). And in LA or SF, if I happen to find on a Friday afternoon that I'm free for the weekend (it does happen from time to time) I can make a last minute decision to drive to Santa Barbara or Vegas or Malibu or Napa or La Jolla or Carmel/Monterey or Mammoth or one of dozens of world class beaches or ski resorts. If I worked in Minneapolis, I could drive to, I don't know, Milwaukee? To me, one of those is living, and the other is not.

So, IB is definitely tough. I'm not saying it's a picnic, definitely not, and it's defintiely not for everyone. But I do think it's incorrect to just look at the hours and slap on a work/life rating. If you do IB in NY or SF or LA, you will have everything at your fingertips, and the ability to afford it. If you're in LA and you needa new BMW every two years, fine. If you're in NY and must spend $1000 on dinner and wine once or twice a month, that's OK too. Your work load will be intense, but your life metric will be large as well. To me, that's preferable to a smaller workload and a crappy life quotient (obviously, everyone will take their measurements differently). There are definitely arguments for and against the IB lifestyle, as well as for and against consulting, management, marketing, and other career choices. But there is certainly no shortage of people who try to get into IB every year in spite of the work load, because hours are just one factor in work/life balance.

Regarding the actual number of hours worked, it's pretty straightforward (at least where I'm at) that there's a direct relation between seniority and hours. The analysts stay later than the associates, associates leave after the VPs (deal depenent of course), the SVP/Directors leave earlier than that, and the MDs are often out of the office. There's an SVP/Director here who leaves at 6PM every day, though he does work from home; and at that level they take him $1M+ in good years. Not a bad target lifestyle for 7-8 years down the road.
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Re: IB in the US - how many days off per year on average? [#permalink] New post 16 Jul 2008, 14:11
pelihu wrote:
riverripper wrote:
You need to remember that in the US there is a huge difference between days of vacation you get in your benefit package and what you are actually able to take. Also with the modern wonders of blackberrys dont think you can get away from it all even when on vacations. Especially the higher up you move.

IB has the WORST work/life balance you will find.


All the comments about work & vacation in IB are true - at least for the associate level. I will say that I disagree with the comment that IB has the worst work/life balance. I believe it is true that you will work more hours in IB than in any other industry (at least among the major MBA destinations), but I think there are a lot more factors in the work/life thing.

Let's think about some of the major issues. First, would you rather work till 10PM on average, and go back to your own home each night, or would you rather be a consultant and return to your hotel room at 8PM four or five nights a week? In this comparison, I prefer banking because if I'm able to get off at 10 (no guarantee this will happen of course), I can still catch up with friends if they are out or whatever. I don't like being on the road all the time, but beyond that I'm not a fan of spending time in the aiport and on planes.

This kind of leads to the next point. I was lucky enough to land an internship in LA; and the other destinations for banking are NY (the vast majority) and SF. When my work day ends, whenever that may be, I'll be in LA (or NY or SF). I won't be in Omaha or Detroit or Kansas City. No offense to anyone in those cities (well, maybe just a little :lol:), but I'd rather leave the office at 10PM in LA than at 6PM in Cleveland. Yes, yes, I know people from Cincinnati and Oklahoma City and Boise (have I insulted enough places yet?) are going to get all fired up to write about how great it is to live in those places, but let's be serious. To me, work/life balance would be unbearable if I had to live in [INSERT CITY I HAVEN'T YET INSTULTED HERE], or if I lived in a great city but had to spend 4-5 days a week traveling to various unsavory destinations. I couldn't take that. It kind of reminds me of the argument about cost of living. It's so bad in SF or NY, and it's so much cheaper in Milwaukee...yeah, but you have to live in Milwaukee!!! If I'm able to slip away from work at midnight, I can meet friends for drinks at the Beverly Hills Hotel or a night club with a single name (yeowie); big difference from handing out at the hotel bar in Peoria.

Which leads to a final point (kind of related). If you work in SF or LA or NY, when you do get some free time, you have world class ammenities at your fingertips (these aren't the only cities of course). Exciting new restaurants, cultural events, music, sports, etc. In other cities? Not so much; I mean how many times can you visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (sorry Cleveland). And in LA or SF, if I happen to find on a Friday afternoon that I'm free for the weekend (it does happen from time to time) I can make a last minute decision to drive to Santa Barbara or Vegas or Malibu or Napa or La Jolla or Carmel/Monterey or Mammoth or one of dozens of world class beaches or ski resorts. If I worked in Minneapolis, I could drive to, I don't know, Milwaukee? To me, one of those is living, and the other is not.

So, IB is definitely tough. I'm not saying it's a picnic, definitely not, and it's defintiely not for everyone. But I do think it's incorrect to just look at the hours and slap on a work/life rating. If you do IB in NY or SF or LA, you will have everything at your fingertips, and the ability to afford it. If you're in LA and you needa new BMW every two years, fine. If you're in NY and must spend $1000 on dinner and wine once or twice a month, that's OK too. Your work load will be intense, but your life metric will be large as well. To me, that's preferable to a smaller workload and a crappy life quotient (obviously, everyone will take their measurements differently). There are definitely arguments for and against the IB lifestyle, as well as for and against consulting, management, marketing, and other career choices. But there is certainly no shortage of people who try to get into IB every year in spite of the work load, because hours are just one factor in work/life balance.

Regarding the actual number of hours worked, it's pretty straightforward (at least where I'm at) that there's a direct relation between seniority and hours. The analysts stay later than the associates, associates leave after the VPs (deal depenent of course), the SVP/Directors leave earlier than that, and the MDs are often out of the office. There's an SVP/Director here who leaves at 6PM every day, though he does work from home; and at that level they take him $1M+ in good years. Not a bad target lifestyle for 7-8 years down the road.



Grr. You're making me jealous. I WANT IN
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Re: IB in the US - how many days off per year on average? [#permalink] New post 16 Jul 2008, 15:20
kidderek wrote:
Is there a different culture for Euro banks in US?


Good question, I was wondering about that.

After a conversation with a couple of people used to the US work culture, I was told exactly what you guys said - I was quite surprised. European culture is different on that point of view. You will get vacations cancelled because of deals so you won't be able to take all your days, but it won't be frowned upon.

I work in IB myself (M&A), but in Belgium the work culture is much more relaxed than In London and certainly NY (I have an indecent amount of holidays :) ).

Thanks a lot to everybody for the valuable input; guess I underestimated the cultural differences...
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Re: IB in the US - how many days off per year on average?   [#permalink] 16 Jul 2008, 15:20
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