Actual BB IB Associate post-MBA hours

anotherm7's picture
Rank: Monkey | 47

Trying to get a feel of the BB IB associate (post-MBA) hours. I realized my American alumni generally tend to overstate the working hours of around 90-120 (*this is just my observation from >10 alumni I spoke to, and is not representative of everyone). Asia alumni I connected with who are are working in the US say the hours are more of (A0: 80-100, A1/A2/A3: 70-85). They typically come in at 10 on weekdays and leave office before 12 and will work for around 2-3 hours on Sat/Sun - sometimes they also find time to squeeze in 1-hour workout during mid-day/lunch. I understand those hours are volatility and depend largely on groups and whether there are live deals, but those are the hours they work 80% of the time. (They probably are all understating the hours).

So what are the hours you guys actually put in?

Comments (33)

Most Helpful
Apr 8, 2019

"Typical" hours I actually put in, 3rd year Associate at regional BB IBD office:

Typical hours
* Monday - Thursday 9:00 AM - 10:00 PM
* Friday 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
* Saturday 2-3 hours of remote work
* Sunday 2-3 hours of remote work

Busy hours
* Monday - Thursday 9:00 AM - 12:00+ AM (may have early west coast calls)
* Friday 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM, plus 2-3 hours remote work at home after dinner
* Saturday 4 hours of remote work / come into office in evening
* Sunday 4-6 hours of office work

[Of course the above does not represent the "busiest" hours but that's beyond the point I think]

Light hours
* Monday - Thursday 9:00 AM - 8:00 PM (may have early west coast calls, may go home earlier)
* Friday 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
* Saturday 0-2 hours of remote work or just checking emails on phone
* Sunday 1-2 hours of remote work

    • 15
Apr 8, 2019

Thanks for sharing this. Would you mind sharing Post MBA Associate hours in the 1st 2.5 years( A0, A1 and A2)?

Apr 8, 2019

Maybe add an hour / day roughly for each year going backwards, at worst case. So A1 weekdays staying to midnight are not uncommon. Depends on group you're in, group culture, staffing / projects, your own performance level, etc.

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Apr 8, 2019

Assuming no previous IBD experience, your first six months of associate will be analyst hours, so figure 80+. After that, what Synergy said.

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Apr 10, 2019

Synergy's post is pretty accurate. I would add the busiest of times are horrible. Have never left the office at 4pm either (not even on Friday) and for some reason projects always have early calls.

What I would add as well for anyone considering banking post-MBA is how much living literally glued to a screen does to you and your life (with or withouth Significant Other). Having to always be on call and answering emails -- even on Christmas, social events, weddings, etc is not fun...

    • 3
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Apr 11, 2019

At a BB based out of HK. I was a post MBA-grad hire with no prior IB experience hired into a coverage group.

First twelve months
M-F 10:00am 1:00am
Sa & Su 12:00pm - 7:00pm
This is was because 1) I had no clue what I was doing and the analysts ran ciricles around me and so I spent so much time playing catch up, and 2) my HK team had serious face time issues

add antother 10-15 hours on top

No such thing as light hour a the time.

A2 and A3 got signifcantly better because I actually started to figure out what the hell I was doing and also proved myself to the team. Those long hours although were absolutely draining, there is something to be said of your dedication and character to be in the trenches with your team pushing a deal over the line. For example, there was a time a VP and I had to run over to counsel's office at 2am to help make commerical sense of a termsheet counsel drafted up and it needed to be done then and there.

Typical hours A2 and A3:
M-F 10:00am - 10:00pm
Sa & Su 12:00pm -6:00pm

Busy times add another 20-25 hours to that.

I'm a VP now and I've moved to a more specialized product team and so my hours are infinitely better. Typically I work:

M-F 9:00am to 6:00pm
Log in from home after dinner to check emails and have calls with NY
Sa-Su I check emails and jump on calls during live deals but most of the heavy lifting is done by my associate and 2 analysts.

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Apr 11, 2019

It looks like associate hours are almost as bad as analysts... Do analysts typically work more than associates, or are they pretty much in the same ballpark? (assuming no experience when either analyst/assoc starts)

Apr 11, 2019

For me atleast ( I believe you can generalize this for most shops in HK), analysts and 1st year associates essentially work the same hours. You still both need to be there working late making edits to books and running a billion scenarios on the model that no one should really care about but for some reason the M&A guy with your client does.

It does get better once you hit 3rd year though where you have much more of your weekend and nights.

    • 1
Apr 11, 2019

Makes sense, thanks for your input! I'm curious how this differs for US banks/groups

Apr 11, 2019

Associates might nominally be at the office for fewer hours, but I actually think they work harder. Analysts where I've worked take a lot of coffee breaks, eat dinner as a group in the conference room and get pretty entitled about their precious gym routine. Associate life definitely harder when you account for the stress of owning the deliverable and building a reputation to support a long-term banking career.

    • 4
Apr 11, 2019

This is something I've always wondered about - I assumed more analysts would switch-off after signing their PE offer vs associates who're fighting for a VP promotion.

    • 1
Apr 11, 2019

I did 80-100 as a first year post MBA. Got a little better after that, but not much better TBH.

The workflow deck is stacked against associates. You're junior enough to be expected to work almost as hard as analysts, but you don't have all the protections analysts have. Some banks might give associates protected weekends, but analysts have a lot more than just that. Above all else, analysts have the fact that they're mostly not there to get promoted, and they have a lot less ownership over the final product. For the most part, the analysts work at the office all night but also seem to fuck around a lot compared to the associates who leave almost as late and spend the day relatively stressed and busy.

Good news is, banks generally need associates these days so the ability to push back when needed is somewhat there now.

    • 4
Apr 11, 2019

Thanks for sharing this-really helpful. Will be great if you answer few questions.

  1. Given the hours you mentioned, are the sacrifices you made worth it ? If you could go back to Bschool, would you do Consulting or Corporate Strategy or Tech? These are the alternate career paths I am looking at-hence the question.
  2. Is it better to be at EB than BB? Also, which Banks/ groups should I look to avoid in terms of pay, sweatshop hours etc?
Apr 11, 2019
  1. It's all about the quality of the group. If you like your VPs and MDs and can learn from them, then yes it's worth it. I would do it again because 60% of my work was with a particular MD/VP duo who were awesome and taught me a lot. Without them it wouldn't have been worth it. So pay close attention to the people.

Also, for the post MBA level, I've usually seen industry-group guys enjoy their careers more than product group guys. The technical skills you pick up in a product group are IMHO less useful to building a long-term banking career, and also less useful for exit opps. Industry guys get better at the client-facing skills early on, and are also slightly better equipped to navigate the corp dev world.

  1. No broad difference between BB and EB in my opinion. It's all about joining a good group.

Biggest question you should ask yourself is what will this given set up (this group, this particular MD(s) you'll be working with, etc.) do you help you develop. Because no matter what you do after 3-4 years in banking, you'll want to be as knowledgeable and polished as you can be. If you want to stay in banking, you'll be judged on how well you can interact with clients (i.e. being knowledgeable and polished). If you want to go do something else, still the same criteria more or less.

    • 6
Apr 11, 2019

120 hours? Who said that? They gotta be huffing glue. As an analyst ive hit 110 but 120 seems nearly impossible.

    • 1
Apr 12, 2019

I started with my firm (top MM) as an associate at the same time as an analyst that was essentially fresh out of college and he would consistently do 120, but that was mostly because he hadn't learned the importance of time management yet. If people are still cranking 120 after their first year they should really reconsider their career path.

    • 1
Apr 16, 2019

Very true. If I ever hit 120, I would definitely need to do some reflecting because something isnt working.

Apr 13, 2019

Background: BB NYC group, traditional IB (non ECM/DCM)

From what I've seen -

1st year MBA associates:
Monday - Thursday: 9:00am - 9:00pm / 10:00pm
Friday: 9:00am - 6:30pm
Saturday/Sunday: As-needed, typically ~10 hours between the two days and sometimes remote

2nd+ year associates:
Monday - Thursday: 9:00am - 7:30pm
Friday: 9:00am - 5:30pm
Saturday/Sunday: As-needed, typically ~5 hours between the two days and almost always remote

So roughly 60-65 hours on average for experienced associates and 70-80 hours as a 1st year MBA associate. Flex that to about 80-85 ish when very busy.

They live a pretty good life honestly, to the point I've given it some thought of going A2A (whereas going in I was PE or bust). But, also keep in mind other groups in our bank have it much rougher, so I would say this is the exception rather than the norm.

    • 5
Apr 13, 2019

Almost no one leaves before 7/8 in my group even when it's slow (although we are more 930-10am start if you are slow)

Those hours don't seem typical imo

Apr 13, 2019

No, they certainly are not which is why I say our group is an exception rather than the norm. We're fortunate to not have much face time. But, groups like ours do exist - just tough to vet for it.

    • 1
Apr 15, 2019

As an A2A this is good though I'd like to add one thing that no one seems to have mentioned - it certainly matters the VP/MD who are above you but what also matters are the analysts below you.

If you have quality analysts who can do what you ask in a timely manner, and have the common sense to do that little extra bit and you don't have to hold their hand through shit the job everybody lives better. When you have a bunch of <6mo analysts or just general incompetence it can add a lot to the job because at the end of the day (as has been pointed out here) the buck stops at you and you need to make sure everything's done right.

    • 1
Apr 15, 2019

I agree with most of the responses provided here.

To add, the best piece of advice I've heard given to a post-MBA associate is to do everything yourself first before relying on analysts to do the work for you. By that I mean, the first time you are staffed on a project requiring a model, do the model. More generally, within the first 4-6 months of being on the desk, try to do anything that you haven't seen before yourself before falling back on the responsibilities traditionally given to associates within the IB hierarchy.

The hours upfront will be high regardless of how you think about the time spent - whether it's face time (valuable for establishing a reputation) or actually creating work for a client project/deal (real work). If the situation allows, doing the work yourself gives you the chance to thoroughly understand what you will later be responsible for checking. You'll be more efficient with your time and will feel more confident taking ownership of the work when you send it upwards.

    • 2
Apr 16, 2019

what about the actual work, a couple of commenters here mentioned that you wouldn't have control over projections as much as the analysts do; so if you were to breakdown hours spent on tasks, what would that composition look like?

    • 1
Apr 19, 2019

PPT 45%
Outlook 30%
Excel 15%
Random shit 10%

    • 1
Apr 20, 2019
Apr 21, 2019