UBS ADDRESSING GS SURVEY..RIDICULOUS

Did any analysts just listen to the junior banker committee from UBS and how they’re going to address work-life balance? It was ridiculous for a number of reasons, and I’m honestly somewhat offended.

  1. They had MDs talk about how they unplugged from work by swimming etc, encouraging juniors to just log off and do the same. Like an associate would not be up to our ass and screaming if we didn’t answer the phone because of exercise?

  2. They congratulated themselves and said they were ahead of the market because they gave us a meal stipend. Like that’s not the bare minimum to do.

  3. They said they’re all ears and happy to help, sorry about the deal flow and ridiculous hours but offered 0 solution or policy changes. Excuse me?

  4. They shaded the analysts and said they cared about us (juniors) from the very start because they gave us a stipend and didn’t need a survey to force them to do this... like yeah, but there are still so few analysts across most groups compared to seniors, associates are being worked to the bone and lashing out at juniors, 110+ hour weeks, etc. either make a real change or don’t, don’t fucking pretend you’re amazing and that we should be lucky to be tested so well. Anyone else feels the same?? I’m pissed. Plus, no fucking AirPods or iPads or pelotons.. 

 
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DUDE, I actually took notes during the town hall because I was so upset at what I was hearing:

-Senior mgmt goes on about how much they miss the office (lol)

-Senior MDs remark how personal and work boundaries are blurred so they have started to really set some time each day to refresh themselves mentally and step away from the job (good job guys!)  ("Its great to step out, go for a run, go on walk, read a book etc, really glad I started setting boundaries to do this!").    Yeah, so heroic to set boundaries to YOUR SUBORDINATE staff from your ivory tower to step away and read a book.  Do you think the analyst feels as empowered to set boundaries towards you?

- MD remarks how "We all want to be back together!"   LOL

-MD remarks they "miss walking the floor and seeing people in seats"  (this isn't a joke)

-"Saturday no work policy can be adjusted so people can split the work between Sunday and Saturday so its not just a free Saturday and a horribly busy Sunday"  (THIS ISNT A MOTHER FING PERK)

-"Really trying hard to give you guys 1-2 hours a day to step away and have personal time"  (Imagine telling someone at google they can have at most 1-2 hours of free time between 9am and midnight)

-Then worst of all, a question is asked to senior management: "How are you spending the 2 hours of personal time a day now that the weather is nice?"     Maybe you should have asked a first year analyst that.....their answer would be quite different since they barely have time to take a shower each day.

Really disappointed.  And I thought UBS had great culture before the pandemic too.  Everyone I know is doing 90 to 110 hr weeks and is on the verge of a mental breakdown now.

 

There is a difference between sacrificing WLB to further your career and completely destroying our mental and physical health for the sake of producing meaningless work 

 

There's a pretty good fucking chance we are sacrificing more of our life with these habits which definitely lower our life expectancy. Unhealthy eating habits, low physical exercise, high stress, low sleep. That's 4 things that are inducive of an early death and it honestly worries me sometimes.

 

It's not an either or. 

Plenty of people went to tech rather than IB or consulting over the past ten years, many of them had a better WLB, and due to equity many even outperformed bankers in total comp. 

It's not clear to me at all that you're better off "sacrificing" your life for 6-10 years and you'll be better off in IB than you would have been just going to tech, actually being able to enjoy your life, and potentially make the same or even more money due to equity. 

I'm not here saying tech is superior to banking or consulting or whatever there are many arguments you could make either way. Just pointing out it's not as black/white as you say. 

 

Also forgot to mention

"We are reviewing our newly launched staffing excel sheets (where we report hours worked during the week) like a detailed LBO even"

then why am I getting staffed on new pitches when I report 90-105hr weeks on it?  these staffing sheets do nothing other than tell mgmt people are getting blasted to death

Im just as jaded and angry as these GS analysts are.  I didn't sign up expecting 9 to 5, but I did not sign up for this.  Really hope someone sends this to Litquidity and the news reports but I doubt it will since most Americans don't even know what UBS is.   Already actively trying to leave this bank.

 

The virtue signaling and bullshit corporate preaching at the bulge brackets has gotten to a point where it is straight up degrading. "We PASSIONATELY CARE about our ANALYSTS and ASIANS and BLM and COVID and MENTAL HEALTH!!! We are announcing this PUBLICLY so we don't look BAD and it is a SMART PR MOVE because BLOOMBERG will write a BROWN-NOSING article about us now!!!"

Of course, nothing will change. Things will go on as normal. Not a single fucking thing has improved - in any capacity - despite weekly HR emails telling us that they care.  It's sad because I remember way back when, I was legitimately excited for this job. I am so jaded by my experience working at a BB. If any prospect or intern is reading this, please, do yourself a favor and go to a boutique or better yet, save yourself the misery and don't do banking at all.  

 

If you're legitimately open to working at a boutique (not EB like Evercore or Lazard), it can be way more manageable WLB. I did a bulge bracket internship and hated it. Went to a regional boutique in Chicago - not Blair or Baird, one nobody here would recognize or give a shit about - and had a good experience. Good/normal weeks were 60-65 hrs, bad 70, the worst 80+. Never worked 100 in four years. 

I was still able to leave for a middle market private equity job when I wanted to. Good luck!

 

If you could have done it over, what would you have done? Can you at least not appreciate how IB creates optionality for you that other careers do not? 

I look to apply to jobs on LinkedIn and I am not qualified for over 90% of them because I haven't gone through the rigor of financial modeling, etc. in investment banking - instead I just advise on strategy and program management. Difficult to find a promotion lateral through that.

 

Fuck the banks. At this point I would rather be told "this is what you signed up for" than "we care about you" for the 1000th time. 

 

They need to realize how insensitive that was. Basically gaslighting analysts and juniors by being like “hey why don’t you fully unplug for a few hours a day like us MDs do?” Un, maybe because I would be fired? I would have associates ripping me apart? What kind of shitty town hall meeting was that. Made me feel worse... they also said everything was “cyclical” and that we would get a break if we just waited it out. Huh??? 

 

exactly man.

Like when you drop a comment on a deck and say "can we add in another merger sensitivity...maybe for another company as well?  I'd like to see by this evening thanks" at 4pm......guess what....I have zero ability to take a few hours off now to go swimming since your task you gave me will take 4-5 hrs minimum and around 9pm you will email "where the pages, would like to review before I sleep..tx"

so out of touch

 

IB Analysts are overwhelmingly beta male cucks. No way they would have the balls to do this

 

There are two ways that will go: they either ensure all who go on strike never work in the street again (or anything finance related) or they come up with a new policy where you work 9-5 but make half while keeping senior salaries the same (which will cause people to work just as much to be promoted).

And to add to this the news will have a field day talking about “greedy bankers going on strike despite making $100k+ at 22 while x% of Americans make mínimum wage”

lose lose lose situation

 

Exactly. Also it's pretty much the understanding that bankers get paid insane salary because it's to reward them for putting in gruelling hours. Want to work normal hours? Get paid as much as the corp banking / consumer banking freshies then. Can't have your cake and eat it. 

 

Sadly the fact is they get paid almost 5 figures a month so if they quit, there's no shortage of takers. Most youths everywhere don't earn nearly as much as IB analysts despite equally grueling hours (see: auditors, healthcare workers...). In my country, the starting pay is 2-3k per month with shitty hours (thanks Asian work culture) and IBs get paid 3x of that. 

 

the power comes from the prospects of lower levels joining a union.  it would need to start in public finance around infrastructure - biden folks are giving everything to unions.  biden build america bond issuance comes up and election criteria includes company's action towards offering union vote of card check.

i am right to work and anti union but nothing scares unresponsive management/owners like a prospect of unionization - especially when the business model is built on > 40 hours of work.

 

Did they give any estimate of when juniors would start returning to the office?

 

I’m laughing my ass off and shaking my head all at the same time. A few thoughts as someone who worked in a coverage group at UBS for 2+ years and left.

First off, if you’re thinking about it, GET OUT ASAP. I’m serious. The grass is definitely greener. I jumped to a larger, more prestigious shop and I can tell you it’s so much better. The MDs are smarter and better connected, the deals are more interesting and the people are kinder. Seriously. If your gut is telling you to leave, trust it. The market right now is crazy hot for junior talent and all you have to do is talk to a couple headhunters. It’s that easy!!

I can’t tell you how many hours I spent cranking on decks and tracking sheets trying like crazy to get a client to hopefully take a meeting. Literally whole days of my life. Where I’m at now, the MD texts that same client we have a call within 24 hours and we get the mandate. My old MD is probably still trying to figure out how to get a call, has a junior team staying up all night working on a deck (burning them out) and meanwhile we’ve already signed the EL. 

I can also tell you from first hand experience the MDs at UBS do not give two shits about you. They care about themselves completely and really couldn’t give a fuck about your mental health. MDs I thought I could trust or who I thought were the “good guys” will stab you in the back or throw you under the bus in a heartbeat. UBS is rife with office politics from the top down and everyone was just looking out for their own best interest, not your own. The junior banking committee was a sham and window dressing so the group heads could feel good and point to something on paper that they were “making a difference”.

At the end of the day, banking is hard but it doesn’t have to be brutal. Go somewhere that actually cares for their employees where you can learn and aren’t spinning your wheels all day in a losing uphill battle. 

 

What kind of nonsense was today's conference call, I am infuriated. Me and another former SA in my coverage group that I have become friends with since last summer are actively trying to recruit (NYC)

 

just like moving from a job with good benefits to one with worse benefits and having everyone talk about how the company treats them well even though you know there are better options out there. Whats funnier is when other new people low key hint that their old work place also had better perks when they realize you haven't drank the koolaid either

 

The FUNNIEST PART OF THIS is that these very same seniors have literally given me insane comments and turnaround times. They’re the root cause of the problem and out here championing UBS culture like it’s not complete shit!! Hilarious. WLB is literally at an all time low... being around other people in the office won’t help us, Ros.

 

Just another junior analyst at the firm confirming this is all true. Investment banking in general (no matter the bank) will continue to remain broken until the incentive structure is changed at the senior level. For those who are unaware, an MD's compensation at most banks is based 50% on deal execution and 50% on new business generation. In certain engagement letters across banking, I've also seen a bonus compensation clause built in that states that if the bank performs its duties (executes the deal) better or faster than the client expected, then the client has the option to pay the bank a few extra % points of the deal value (so couple million $ more). All of these things lead to MDs trying to sign as many deals as they can and take on as much new business as they can. This leads to the rest of the junior team getting completely crushed trying to keep up. On top of that, for those deals with the bonus comp clause, MDs will get even crazier trying to complete deliverables with insane turnaround times just to impress the client. As much as we juniors like to hate on MDs, the incentive structure forces even the nicest MDs to face intense pressure to perform (or in many cases, even keep their jobs), which leads to the current burnt-out state of junior investment bankers. Given MDs are generating millions of $ of revenue for the banks, you think it's really in the banks' best interest to fire an MD even if multiple analysts complain against him or her? Generating revenue is in their shareholders' interest not the mental health and wellness of their junior employees. 

One thing that wasn't mentioned was how terrible the junior banking committee's questions were too. The one that stood out the most was when someone inserted a women's history month and discrimination question into the mix. While I respect the question, this could have been asked during some women's history month town hall event rather than a discussion about how to make analysts' lives better. They also phrased their questions in such a way that they were asking the senior bankers to recommend how to maintain work-life balance, which is why the seniors ended up talking about how they decompress. What they should have done is directly asked what UBS will do to prevent juniors from going insane and pushed the seniors to actually provide actionable steps rather than let them get away with saying that the firm did really well and that they provided a meal stipend (which by the way, does not apply if you are living in a different city than your home office - at least in my group). The Junior banking committee very much is a figurehead group that was established to make it seem like juniors matter to the firm. They brand themselves as being the fighters for junior bankers' rights at the firm, but when the only thing they've done in the past two years is getting UBS to accept DoorDash as well as Seamless for meal deliveries, then something needs to change. 

Also, the staffing sheets are just a mandatory requirement where staffers must submit them weekly to some other group (I think HR or something), Many people are right in saying that no one checks these. My staffers have weekly meetings with the group in which we each take turns listing out our workstreams and time commitment. If the staffer were actually reviewing the staffing / time sheets, these meetings would be completely redundant. Also, as a final proof point, I know a couple analysts in my group who have been putting 168 total hours in their staffing sheets for the past month and no one has said anything. 

In the end, as many have said before me, we're all dispensable as juniors. So many people are leaving my group and they'll just hire one of the thousands of other people in the world who are either lateraling up, have been wanting to get into banking all their life and never could or the people who have never done investment banking in their lives but think analyst who quit investment banking as weak, when in reality, they're going to be in the same position after their first week in banking.