In one of his more famous books -- Outliers: The Story of Success -- Malcolm Gladwell introduces the "10,000-hour-rule". I'm sure you've all heard of this one before, but just to rehash, the rule basically states that the key to being successful in any field is, in many ways, a function of practicing a specific task for roughly 10,000 hours.
This has become a popular mantra in today's society, from beginner-guitarists posting weekly videos of their playing as they hope to transition to virtuoso-level ability, to recording artists like Macklemore and his song Ten Thousand Hours.
Guess 10K hours paid off for him, but for the rest of us...
Meet Dan McLaughlin, someone who hadn't played 18 rounds of golf before embarking on a 10,000-hour plan. Right now he's sitting pretty with about 6,000 hours left, and has improved his game significantly, hoping eventually to win amateur events and make it to PGA-level events. Hearing about this 10K hour thing got me to thinking -- do Investment Banking Analysts hit that threshold after a two- or three-year Analyst stint?
If they do, shouldn't they be _really_ good at what they do -- one would hope, investment banking -- after that period of time? And if they are really good at investment banking (which roughly equates at the Analyst level to modeling, quickly performing research, performing under pressure, taking criticism, and absorbing a ton of info quickly), is an Analyst stint one of the quickest and most financially-rewarding ways to finish the 10,000-hour race to being an expert at something?
Let's do some quick math...
There are 52 weeks in the year, and an Analyst typically receives something like 2 weeks of paid vacation: 50 weeks of work per year.
An Analyst typically works 90 hours per week, which I don't believe is a particularly conservative estimate.
As per this post, and information from two trusted WSO members -- CompBanker and CaptK -- an Analyst "works" roughly 75-90% of the time spent in the office. CompBanker mentions he worked about 90% of the time in the office, excluding meals, so assuming 13 hours per day (91 hours on the week) and 1.5 hours per lunch & dinner combined, he "worked" about 10.35 hours per day, or 72.45 hours per week.
72.45 hours per week * 50 working weeks gets us to a magic number of ~3,600 hours per year. That's 7,200 hours for a typical Analyst stint and 10,800 hours if you stick around for a third year.
What does this mean? Probably not a whole lot. I can't say I'm a huge subscriber when it comes to the 10,000-hour-rule, but it _is_ something interesting to think about. Dan the golfer is giving up everything to become an expert at his craft, as are all of the YouTube hip-hop artists and wannabe-virtuoso guitarists. Not to mention the fact that if they _aren't_ giving up everything, it's taking them a hell of a lot longer than 3 years to get to 10,000.
You can get your 10,000-hour certificate, or at least come close to it, while earning a cushy salary and padding your resume pretty nicely. It's not a sport and it's not sexy like being an incredible pianist, but someone has to be an expert at finance, right?