Jasmin Hu

A day in the life of…an investment banking analyst

09.00: I arrive at the office. There is no requirement to come in at a particular time, although morning meetings or calls may require you to come into the office earlier than this.

09.30-12.30: As a first year analyst, my work is quite varied and ranges from tasks such as compiling a broker consensus of a company’s forecast financials, to building an operating model from a given set of forecast financials which models a company’s profitability and returns using a set of reasonable assumptions and cases. The majority of these tasks ultimately produce outputs to be presented in a book of slides at client meetings and pitches.

12.30-13.30: Lunch. When things are very busy and I’m up against a tight deadline, I have little time for a lunch-break and will grab a sandwich to eat at my desk. However when things are quiet, I’ll join other analysts and have a sit-down lunch in our staff canteen or at a nearby sandwich bar or restaurant.

13.30-19.00: Other tasks you may do as a first-year analyst include: gathering market data on share prices and trading multiples; benchmarking companies’ historical financial performance against their competitors by gathering data from annual reports; running valuation models (e.g. Discounted Cash Flows and Leveraged Buyouts) and gathering research from broker notes and other databases, making the information presentable. There are also internal meetings to attend and calls to join which provide me with the opportunity to work with people from other divisions within the bank.

The projects we work on vary and typically will be a mixture of deals and pitching. When markets are strong, there is a lot of deal activity (e.g. Mergers & Acquisitions, refinancing, Initial Public Offerings and other equity offerings, debt offerings, etc.) and although they’re hard work, these projects are the most exciting and rewarding work-streams in which to be involved.

In investment banking across the City, you learn that it’s not typically a 9-5 culture and that to achieve results you may work long hours and on relatively long-term projects; typically projects last one or two weeks, but some projects can last several months. Generally I manage my own time, but there are, of course, occasions when senior executives require additional resources to help complete presentations and pitches.

19.00-20.00: Dinner in our staff canteen with colleagues. I almost never eat dinner at home, except on Fridays when I’ll meet up with friends.

20.00-?: Home time is dependent on how much work I have on and when the deadlines fall. If the projects are not urgent, then an hour or two after dinner will be enough to call it a day. However, your first year as an analyst is supposedly one of the toughest with respect to hours, and so on many nights, I find myself still in the office past midnight. All-nighters are not as common as some people may believe, though admittedly, late nights are. The hours associated with the job mean that you quickly develop very good relationships with your colleagues and it is surprising how up-beat people can still be at 2am!

It is widely known that hours in investment banking across the market can be long, and working at weekends does happen from time to time and is more common in some teams than others. However, investment banking is a unique career and for those interested in finance it offers numerous opportunities that would be difficult to replicate in other industries.

Some of the aspects I like most about this job include the dynamic environment and the opportunity to work with intelligent and sharp-minded people. It is a challenging career and the demanding pace may not be for everyone, but if you like a challenge and can work well under pressure, and are willing to work hard, then this job would be a good fit for you.

The stereotypical work hard, play hard banker image is not a myth, and having adapted to the late hours, you will soon buy into the idea that even at midnight, the night is still young and in central London you are never too far from a bar or restaurant to enjoy time with friends.

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