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Well, I have always thought that people outside of NY work somewhat less than those in NY. I believe that there is a fundamental difference in views on work and life in general in NY.
That said, I would say that at the associate level, relatively few people work 100 hours week in and week out, or even 90 or 80. Certainly, everyone has had to put in those hours from time to time, but very few people do it on a consistent and continual basis. For example, I detailed in a post last week that my office-mate worked back-to-back all-nighters. This week, however, he left before 6PM 3 times and took the day off today (Friday). If you think about it, if you start at 9-9:30AM and work until 10PM each day, with a short break for lunch and dinner, that puts you at about 60 hours. If you do some work on the weekends you might be around 70 hours. People don't necessarily work every single weekend (like I said, I had the last two off). So that's about 60-70 hours, and would be a pretty normal week. Certainly, there are other times when you're working from 9AM-2AM day after day, with no breaks for lunch or dinner, and all weekend long, but it's definitely not all the time.
Now, I'm talking about associates here - for analysts I think you can legitimately tack on another 2 hours per day, and at least one day every weekend. That would be more in the range of 80-90 hours in a normal week, with hell weeks occuring more frequently as well. One perk to being an associate is that at the end of the night, you can often hand stuff off to an analyst, and review in the morning or something. Analysts don't have anyone to hand stuff off to.
I know a lot of folks in banking, and have actually had a few chuckles regarding the work load that some people report. I would say that there are several factors that contribute to the confusion. I can definitely tell stories of weeks where I literally worked 110 hours, and have heard of people who have literally spent less than 20 hours away from the office in an entire week, but that shouldn't be confused with a typical work load. Also, people rarely distinguish between reports about associate and analyst work loads, and there really is a difference between the two. Of course, work loads can vary substantially depending on your practice group and who you are working for. Are there people out there who work 90+ hours every week at the associate level? For sure there are. But I think those are outside the middle 80% as we like to talk about things here at GMATclub. Middle 80% is probably 60-70 or 60-80 hours per week.
Thanks for the info. You're right about people not distinguishing between analyst and associate - my 80-100 hours number actually comes from my analyst recruiting days. It's good to know that associates work less than analysts. 60-70 is MUCH better than 80-90. So, you see the full-time associates at the office leaving by 10 and not always there on the weekend right (not just the interns)? Just wanted to make sure the banks don't try to make the interns think it won't be too bad so that they'll accept their full time offers then they show up full time and see the real deal. Have you read monkey business?
Yeah, associates can definitely have a little bit more time to themselves than analysts. Associates can leave an hour or two earlier on average, work fewer weekends and have fewer super late nights. Unless they are working on something specific, associates here always leave before 10. We are a small enough office that you hear about what most everyone else is working on. I'm positive they are not trying to BS us for the summer, based on contacts with people at the associate level as well as more senior people. Trust me, I found out the real deal the first three weeks I was on the job. Things slowed down because a couple of deals died or were postponed, but nobody is trying to fool us here, I'm absolutely certain.
I have read Monkey Business, though I don't remember many specifics about the book. All the books about trading and banking tend to run together. My general thought is that the book is funny, and is an interesting way to talk about banking, but its more bits and pieces of the truth, rather than the real thing. I think maybe it's like the movie Goodfellas - definitely lots of true elements and real events based on real people, but do you really believe that it accurately portrayed the day-to-day lives of people in the mob?
It's a little hazy, but I recall the road-show story from Monkey Business. I could imagine an associate going through something like that, but it would be a once-in-a-career type of thing for perhaps one person in a department. As in, "I once heard of a guy...". The compensation part was probably pretty accurate - especially for that time period. Banks used to have a reputation of being really secretive about pay, and how much they compensated various performance levels. The thing is, I don't think that's possible any more now that all the big banks are public (most of them made the transition in the mid 90s). Also, most banks are trying to publicize bigger differences between top performers and low performers. Regarding peeing in a bottle at the Christmas Party, that reminds me more of fraternity life in college than working at a bank. I recall a road trip where the bathroom in the Winnebago broke, and quite a few bottles were filled until we made it to a stop. That was fraternity, not banking. I don't really remember anything other specifics from the book, however I'd say that many of the stories are (more accurately were) actually true, but you always have to ask, was this a one time deal, or was it a daily occurance? I mean, it shouldn't be a surprise that young bankers are looking to score with young banking assistants (we don't have any of those around here, all the assistants have been with the firm for 20+ years), but I'll bet that's just as true with young consultants and young CPAs and I know it's true with young lawyers. Do bankers like to hang out a strip clubs? Probably not any more than people of the same age with comparable incomes.
My idea is to launch a high tech venture right after the school, so I managed to squeeze two internships that I felt would provide appropriate experiences for this.
1. What field? A medium-sized VC shop, an affiliate of a large IM fund. 2. What location? Philadelphia, PA 3. Rundown of a typical day? The schedule was pretty flexible except for the days we met with potential investees or participated in tech. expos. I usually had about 2-3 days of due diligence for each new deal (market research, competitive analysis, technology assessment), summarized the findings and made a recommendation for the managing partner I was working with. 4. What really helped you prepare for the job school-wise? Just about everything. Working with young emerging companies, you have to grasp quickly every part of the business from cash flow analysis (for mature companies) to marketing and people management issues as well as feasibility and sustainability of the business in the long term. 5. What will help you for full time (so classes you'll now take 2nd year)? All the VC and entrepreneurial classes as well as advanced topics in finance and accounting. 6. What do you read now other than the WSJ and Economist to stay up in the know for your biz? Raising Venture Capital for the Serious Entrepreneur by Dermot Berkery – simply excellent book, both from VC and entrepreneurial perspective, Term Sheets & Valuations by Alex Wilmerding, Valuations, McKinsey & Co. thedeal.com, venturebeat.com, etc. 7. Typical hours with breakdown (meetings, traveling, in front of the computer, etc.) Usually 9:30a to 6p when working in the office , mostly in front of the computer or talking to partners. 10a to 4p when meeting with investees or taking part in expos.
1. What field? Business development in a fortune 100 tech. company. 2. What location? San Jose, CA 3. Rundown of a typical day? Since I am working on two projects at once, my time is split between analyzing raw data from a DB and creating an interactive reporting tool and talking to sales people and end customers to gather data for analysis. So a typical day comprises of working in front of the computer and taking part in conference calls. 4. What really helped you prepare for the job school-wise? Mostly marketing. In fact, the job requires only a bit of some advanced business knowledge, and mostly a lot of common sense. 5. What will help you for full time (so classes you'll now take 2nd year)? Ditto. 6. What do you read now other than the WSJ and Economist to stay up in the know for your biz? Watch this one again: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0151804/ 7. Typical hours with breakdown (meetings, traveling, in front of the computer, etc.) Usually 9a to 6p, computer and conference calls.
I noticed that you're attending Darden but got an internship in LA. Did the company you work for recruit at Darden or did you have to do your own leg work to setup the internship?
I'm curious how hard it is to line up an internship on your own.
Well, it's pretty hard to generalize. The company I'm with is a bulge bracket bank. All of the 20 or so biggest banks recruited on campus at Darden, however they differed in how they staffed branch offices. The firm that I'm with gave a general offer (basically for the NY office); and then with offer in hand I met with the group in LA that I wanted to join. Many firms did it this way. Some firms recruited separately for each office, meaning you had to drop your resume separately for each office you were interested in. Still other firms had centralized recruiting, but forced you to choose an office. One firm had first round interviews on campus, but then offered my a second round interview with the office of my choice (I had made contact with people in LA and SF). So, if you want to maximize your chances you should definitely try to do some of your own leg work. It's possible to get where you want through on-campus recruiting in some cases, but you can help yourself by getting involved.
As far as how hard it was, it wasn't that hard. I focused just on banks (don't have much info to share on consulting firms or GM or anything else) and was able to get 10+ meetings with California offices of bulge bracket banks. I cut off my on-campus schedule after the second day of interviewing (got an offer from my top choice), and by that point had interview invites with a half-dozen CA offices.
However, each person's relative level of success (and ease) will depend on several factors. First of all, the west coast offices are extremely wary of folks that do not have ties to the cities in question. In fact, based on my own interactions I will say that some will straight-up not consider carpetbaggers. You need to have a well-developed story for why you want to be in the particular office in question; and it probably wouldn't hurt to have a good reason for why you aren't attending one of the top local schools. The second is that you must demonstrate technical competence and commitment to the work. The west coast offices are much smaller so they won't have a big pool of people to choose from to help them get their work done. Certainly, these factors are important for banking in general, but especially so in branch offices where they will not consider you if they have any doubts about whether or not you can and will pull your weight. They know they will likely be working with you directly and want to be extra-sure that you'll be able to handle the job because there's less room for recruiting error. Which leads to a final point - schmoozing is super-important because you'll be interviewing directly with the people you will be working with. If you're at a target school, schmoozing is probably the most important thing for IB recruiting in general; but at a branch office where you'll be interviewing with the VPs and up that you will be working with closely, schmoozing skill is at a premium.
How hard is it? Not hard if you have these things going for you. Impossible if you do not.