Banks with the BEST hours

I currently work for a 2nd tier boutique (think Sagent, Lincoln, Needham etc.) as a 2nd year analyst in the Midwest. The hours have gotten better as I am getting faster at my job, but I still pull 65-70 hours a week on average. Of course, when we're on a bakeoff or a live deal those go up to 100+ but that only happens a few times a month.

  • I was just wondering if this is as good as it gets for investment banking, or if there are shops where the average hours are closer to 55-60?

OP continued at bottom

IB Hours: Is This As Good As it Gets?

Everyone knows that hours are long in investment banking. However, hours/lifestyle/work-life balance and more vary by group, deal flow and firm. Reviewing stats in the Investment Banking Industry Report can give you a better idea which firms generally work longer hours.

According to 2018 data, the following firms worked the most hours a week:

Most WSO users in this thread commented that 60-70 hours is fairly decent for investment banking jobs and that any professional services job at a certain level is going to require more than the 40-hour work week.

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Continuation of OP
The reason I ask is because I am actually considering a career in investment banking (Not ECM or DCM) and just wanted to get a feel for what hours at some other shops were.

tl;dr: hours at current shop are 65-70 hours a week for analysts. 60-65 a week for associates. Do better hours exist at other "reputable" shops? Looking to stay on as a career banker without killing myself

Comments (105)

 
Sep 28, 2015 - 10:02am

It is entirely group dependent. My bank, for example, has certain groups that work 90 hours every week and others that work 60. It just depends on how hot the industry or product that your group covers is.

That being said, 65 to 70 is very good compared to other banks, especially if you are making street. All professional services - law, medicine, finance - will required some level of commitment over the standard 40 hours.

 
Sep 28, 2015 - 1:26pm

60-65 hrs is probably the best available. Comparatively, anyone trying to start a career in any industry will be working around the same amount. If you move to a smaller boutique you may get better hours in between deals - but you will have much less in terms of resources to lean on and possibly lower overall comp.

 
Sep 29, 2015 - 8:59am

6-6 lifestyle

Disclaimer for the Kids: Any forward-looking statements are solely for informational purposes and cannot be taken as investment advice. Consult your moms before deciding where to invest.
 
Sep 29, 2015 - 12:20pm

I had this discussion with a friend the other day. We agreed that if you're a certain kind of guy, you'll always work 60-70 hours per week. Doesn't matter what you do: banking, consulting, HF/PE/VC, own firm, management in some firm, corp. dev., moving to your parents' business, whatever. If you go for the supercompetitive jobs, 60-70 actually marks a lower boundary for the hours you'll work.

Yes, I have read about the 4-hour work week also, but if you think about it, the implied "spending the other 66 hours per week by the pool" may not really be appealing for a longer period. Actually, a lot of the more senior people I work with now are financially independent, but still work hard, for reasons other than compensation.

I think 60-70 is sustainable for the long haul. That may not be in line with western mainstream views currently, but who cares.

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Jul 12, 2018 - 4:58pm

To be fair, you can't exactly apply the 4 hour work week to investment banking. A lot of that is predicated on using virtual assistants and if you send everything to India (banking's version of VAs) you'll quickly find yourself also looking for contractual work

 
Sep 30, 2015 - 12:16am

eggplantpower:

The hours have gotten better as I am getting faster at my job, but I still pull 65-70 hours a week on average (get in at 930am leave at 9PM M-F, and a few hours on either Sat. or Sun).

So that isn't "65-70 hours a week," You're staying for 11.5 hours on the weekdays, but unless you count the time you spend bullshitting, taking a shit and eating, you're probably doing around 10 hours of actual work (optimistic). So a few hours on EITHER Saturday OR Sunday means you're working maybe 55 hours a week. That's inline with any real job in finance. Not sure how much lower you expect to go.

“Elections are a futures market for stolen property”
  • 1
  • 1
 
Oct 1, 2015 - 5:35pm

So since you work this range, 65 hours ish a week. What is your compensation like?

.
 
Oct 3, 2015 - 7:48pm

The issue isn't really the average hours - the issue is 1) the ratio of hours spent / hours actually needed (ie facetime) 2) the predictability of the hours 3) the lumpiness of the hours

Being in the office for 65 hours when there's no deal flow feels almost as bad as working 90 'necessary' hours, in my personal opinion.

Life's is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
  • 2
 
Apr 3, 2018 - 12:40pm

Aside from very busy periods where many deals are running almost parallel in the sales process, I typically work 9-7 (lunch hour not included). My team will likely end up closing 10-15 deals this year, and I will have significant touches (e.g., creating entire CIMs) on approximately 1/3 of them; will likely have slightly less significant touches on another 1/3.

Hours worked doesn't necessarily mean much after a certain point. Most success in closing deals comes down to maximizing efficiency and team cohesiveness, two elements which are unfortunately lost upon many banks, it seems.

 
Apr 3, 2018 - 12:41pm

banks with less working hours? (Originally Posted: 01/29/2013)

hey guys, i'm kind of at the stage of deciding my dream and the working hour of IB comes to me as the hardest obstacle to me (well it might be same to others but) and i'm wondering if there's kind of banks with less salary but with less working hours and better working conditions. I thought the European banks would be the answer but found out to be wrong. I'll really appreciate if you help.

 
Apr 3, 2018 - 12:49pm

Won Jun:
hey guys, i'm kind of at the stage of deciding my dream and the working hour of IB comes to me as the hardest obstacle to me (well it might be same to others but) and i'm wondering if there's kind of banks with less salary but with less working hours and better working conditions. I thought the European banks would be the answer but found out to be wrong. I'll really appreciate if you help.

Check out the CorpFin groups at Accounting firms (Big 4 and other large CPA/Consulting groups). There is a thread on it if you want more detail, but you will make less (still decent) and work less (50-65 hrs/wk). Many required previous IB experience though.

 
Apr 3, 2018 - 12:58pm

ECM/DCM = general same hours above poster is correct.

ER/IB pay change is "it depends" **generally** IB will pay more. If you work for a top analyst in ER you get paid well and taken care of.

Arguing about who "always" gets paid more is a big waste of time though. Glad newfirstyear is getting paid more.

 
Apr 3, 2018 - 1:03pm

^^ Cleared this comment up above.

1. Working for sweat shop
2. Your **group** has next to no deal flow and you're getting murdered on many pitches, trying to stay afloat
3. You're in M&A and getting crushed all the time

People who say they "average" 100+hours a week are generally straight up lying. If you're getting reamed like that in IB as a 2nd year (1st years always get killed because they are slow regarding all the excel, ppt and word stuff) might be smart to switch banks unless you're getting serious deal experience.

Eg. 80 hours a week and a few deals when you leave is fine
However, would trade for 100 hours a week if all your deals were mega deals
Would not do 100 hours a week for 2 years at any firm if it was 100% pitching

There are certainly weeks you work 120 hours but again, if you average it across maybe that should be edited to 75-85.

Finally 75-85 includes ALL banks, if we're simply talking about only hard core banks sure the average is going to be higher, but we're just getting into a pissing match at that point which i doubt either of us want to do.

 
Apr 3, 2018 - 1:10pm

Go look at local boutiques. Granted that you won't be paying 100+, but you will be working 70-80 tops.

 
Apr 3, 2018 - 1:22pm

Joseph Morgan

__________________________ if you ain't first, you last
 
Apr 3, 2018 - 1:23pm

Look at regional middle market banks. You might have to put in the occasional long week, but in general the hours will be better.

 
Apr 3, 2018 - 1:29pm

Do hours really vary across different firms? (Originally Posted: 01/24/2016)

Firms like Lazard and Moelis along with several BBs are known for long working hours. Do hours really differ? It's hard to meet someone who has experience with two or more firms. I think that anyone can expect to work for 90+ hours in investment banking. But do firms like Lazard or Moelis regularly demand 110+ hours? I currently have a couple of offers to consider. Although I am ready for long hours, I am very curious.

 
Jul 12, 2018 - 4:42pm

Satellite office, and downtime (August) slowest possible is still probably 55 hours...on a standalone basis. Average I would say is still min. 60, circa 65

Array
 
Jul 12, 2018 - 4:59pm

Which bank is the softest (Originally Posted: 06/03/2016)

I am looking to join a top investment bank as a 1st year associate. I want to get the best brand name on my resume, have the best experience to provide me with exit opps, and receive positive feedback day to day (I am sensitive), but I do not want to work the latest hours. So my question: which bank has been dubbed as the softest on the street?

 
Jul 12, 2018 - 5:10pm

You can't trust what's on glassdoor anyway. buddy is in London and the glassdoor total comp range for associate is £35K - £125K.... Of course HSBC doesn't pay as well as some of the BBs, but the difference isn't that big (at least at the associate level) and my buddy consistently works 50-55 hours a week vs. 90+ for my other bschool classmates that ended up at BBs / EBs. I am in no way advocating going to work with HSBC or any other global balance sheet banks (at the end of the day, you pretty much only get mandates because you are a lenders so it's not the most exciting work environment), but just pointing out that it's a great place lifestyle place if that's what you are into.

 
Jul 12, 2018 - 5:11pm

Bear Sterns, Lehman Brothers, Merryl Lynch, L.F. Rothschild, Salomon Brothers, etc

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