Needless to say, people who are still in college, especially seniors who have already accepted a job offer, are probably cruisin' in every sense of the word. That's cool...you guys have about 8 months until things go South for the next 2 or 3 years of your life.
But it's not all bad, right? You get some good pay, hopefully some great experience, and are prepared to face the world as a freshly-minted alumnus of an Investment Banking Analyst program (or consulting, if that floats your boat). For the time being, however, you're still in college: parties, girls, skipping class and sleeping in, and general debauchery take precedence over most other things until you're handed that diploma. Fun!
But in the back of your mind, be cognizant of the fact that 90-hour-weeks are coming. How do you prepare yourself for that? Good question.
This is something I've thought about for quite a while. Most of us out there haven't experienced true sleep deprivation. Sure, when I was in college, there were some really late nights and sometimes 4-5 days (finals week comes to mind) of only 3-4 hours of sleep per night. But gentlemen, that's only 4-5 days in a row!
There was a quote on WSO that I remember where a user said that investment banking is like finals week in college for 2 straight years. Okay, nohere, that sounds fairly challenging. I also once read one of those "joke" cover letters one time (or maybe it wasn't a joke, who knows), in which an aspiring investment banking candidate wrote that he had been preparing himself for the hours by sitting in front of his computer for 18 hours a day without ever standing up. Weekends included folks.
That's all good and fun, but what if we seriously do want to make sure that we're in tip-top shape before the 90-hour-weeks hit?
This is a question that I don't have a lot of answers for, as I haven't started the Analyst thing yet anyway. But I can imagine that the following things might be helpful:
1. Semi-normal sleep schedule
What I mean by semi-normal isn't your desired 8 hours per night, but instead trying to focus in on a more "routine" schedule. In college, sleep patterns change dramatically: you might sleep 4 hours Wednesday to Thursday followed by 13 hours Friday to Saturday, for example. In IB, from what I've read, barring those few strange nights per month, you can probably count on 5-6 hours per night. I think it makes sense to start adopting a 6-hour night now, and also making sure that you're falling asleep and waking up at the same time, to build that routine. From 2:30AM to 8AM, for example.
2. Build up an exercise routine
Exercising is good for you, keeps you sane, etc. -- this has all been discussed frequently on WSO. But trying to get into a routine once you've started working, as opposed to doing so 3-4 months beforehand, is asking for trouble. I know I've been shirking on my exercise duties recently, and probably will continue doing so as the holidays start rolling around...best believe that in February and March, I'll be back on the horse making sure I've eased into a routine before June.
These are the two big things that I've thought of so far. What would you add to this list? What, in hindsight, do you wish you'd done to prepare for your Analyst stint? Is "preparing" a load of crap, or actually useful?
Thanks for reading.