Does life get better as an IBD associate?

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Rank: Baboon | banana points 140

After the grind of the analyst years, does life get increasingly better as an Investment Banking Associate?

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Comments (65)

Jan 19, 2018

Not sure if it gets better per se, but from what I've seen, hours go down very slightly but stress gets cranked up. Would like to hear from people who've made the A > A though

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Best Response
Jan 19, 2018

Nah bro, you're fucked

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Jan 20, 2018

As a former analyst and associate, I will say that it only gets worse as you move up. Hours get better but everything else sucks more.

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Jan 21, 2018

Does life get better on the buy side?

Feb 1, 2018

Sometimes, but even when it's better it's still gonna suck compared to most jobs.

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Feb 3, 2018

you brave souls. not worth it to me.

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Jan 21, 2018

It never gets better as you move up.. if you're getting a pay increase, whether it's moving to buyside or you become associate or vp..if there's a pay raise associated with that it means there's going to be an increase in stress or responsibility. As someone else said, sure hours in the office go down but it's not like you can fully check out once you physically walk out the office.

Jan 21, 2018

It depends on whether banking is right for you. Your hours will go down, which definitely helps, but the level of responsibility goes up. When clients/MDs asks you questions, you can no longer pretend like a clueless analyst and get away with it. You are also responsible for not just your performance, but your analysts'. If they fuck up it's on you, so train them properly. Sometimes you even have to check in and make sure your VPs and MDs are doing their jobs properly, because if they don't, it could make your life miserable. Basically you are much more integrated into the team - you understand the deal and the "story" better and others listen more to your views. If banking is the right path for you, I think you will find the job more interesting and enjoyable, and be much happier despite the increased level of stress. But if banking isn't the right path for you, then as someone else has pointed out - you are fucked.

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Jan 23, 2018

Whats counts as a good associate experience?

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Jan 21, 2018

depends on your MD.

Jan 29, 2018

It never gets better. The idea that the higher you move up the fewer hours you have to work, the less bullshit you need to deal with, etc., is just that - an idea. Each promotion brings more stress, less stability, and a newer, more exotic type of bullshit that you have to deal with.

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Feb 7, 2018

Again, depends on the group and the product.

I was in M&A for LatAm, associates had equally shitty life to analysts. It seemed to not really get much better. However, we sat next to healthcare and associates there (And sometimes analysts) seemed to be pretty chill from time-to-time depending on deal flow.

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Jan 29, 2018

love the blatant shilling bud

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Feb 1, 2018

I love how he tries to casually drop it in like it's not his platform

"spend like $50 and talk to them using this thing i found" lol ok

    • 2
Feb 1, 2018

You're born, you take shit.
You get out in the world, you take more shit.
You climb a little higher, you take less shit.
Till one day you're up in the rarefied atmosphere and you've forgotten what shit even looks like.
Welcome to the layer cake son.

Feb 7, 2018

Monday:

455 am: wake up. Get in cab for airport at 530
7am: Take off in plan
830 am (different time zone): Land and tak ecab to office
9am: Arrive in office. Start working. Working can be analysis, emailling clients, followup with certain parts of the project, making slides for clients meetings, etc.
1030am: Check in with engagement manager/project leader
12: grab lunch, surf internet or eat with team
1230: do more work. Its likely that the EM/PL will emphasize some of my to-do items or need support elsewhere
2pm: run client meetings
4pm: work, maybe a case team meeting
6pm: Check in with girlfriend, order dinner
7pm: Dinner arrives, eat and wrap up work. Check in with EM/PL
8pm: Check in to the hotel, get settled
9pm: go to hotel gym, get some exercise
10pm: check blackberry, watch tv and prepare for next day
11pm: go to sleep
645am: wake up, be in the office by 8am, repeat.

Friday's back in the home office and I leave by 5pm I'm between 55-70 hours per week, with an average of 60.
Weekend work is minimal and nothing has been urgent.

Feb 7, 2018
phdconsultant:

Monday:

455 am: wake up. Get in cab for airport at 530
7am: Take off in plan
830 am (different time zone): Land and tak ecab to office
9am: Arrive in office. Start working. Working can be analysis, emailling clients, followup with certain parts of the project, making slides for clients meetings, etc.
1030am: Check in with engagement manager/project leader
12: grab lunch, surf internet or eat with team
1230: do more work. Its likely that the EM/PL will emphasize some of my to-do items or need support elsewhere
2pm: run client meetings
4pm: work, maybe a case team meeting
6pm: Check in with girlfriend, order dinner
7pm: Dinner arrives, eat and wrap up work. Check in with EM/PL
8pm: Check in to the hotel, get settled
9pm: go to hotel gym, get some exercise
10pm: check blackberry, watch tv and prepare for next day
11pm: go to sleep
645am: wake up, be in the office by 8am, repeat.

Friday's back in the home office and I leave by 5pm I'm between 55-70 hours per week, with an average of 60.
Weekend work is minimal and nothing has been urgent.

I started reading this post and was like...FUCK, I have to do this in a few hours. That and my current engagement is more like 80 hours a week. (just delete the last three or four sentences of gym, relaxation, and reasonable work/life balance).

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Feb 7, 2018
phdconsultant:

Monday:

455 am: wake up. Get in cab for airport at 530
7am: Take off in plan
830 am (different time zone): Land and tak ecab to office
9am: Arrive in office. Start working. Working can be analysis, emailling clients, followup with certain parts of the project, making slides for clients meetings, etc.
1030am: Check in with engagement manager/project leader
12: grab lunch, surf internet or eat with team
1230: do more work. Its likely that the EM/PL will emphasize some of my to-do items or need support elsewhere
2pm: run client meetings
4pm: work, maybe a case team meeting
6pm: Check in with girlfriend, order dinner
7pm: Dinner arrives, eat and wrap up work. Check in with EM/PL
8pm: Check in to the hotel, get settled
9pm: go to hotel gym, get some exercise
10pm: check blackberry, watch tv and prepare for next day
11pm: go to sleep
645am: wake up, be in the office by 8am, repeat.

Friday's back in the home office and I leave by 5pm I'm between 55-70 hours per week, with an average of 60.
Weekend work is minimal and nothing has been urgent.

Wow. This sounds much better than what many others seem to be going through... do you work at MBB? 60 hours a week isn't bad at all, and if that's the standard hours for consulting at associate level, I could definitely see why some people clearly prefer consulting over banking after MBA.

Feb 7, 2018

Does the company pay for your hotel and flights?

Feb 7, 2018
LifeWithoutWater:

Does the company pay for your hotel and flights?

hahahaha.

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Feb 7, 2018
blackfinancier:
LifeWithoutWater:

Does the company pay for your hotel and flights?

hahahaha.

I would also like to express my laughter hahahaha

Feb 7, 2018
LifeWithoutWater:

Does the company pay for your hotel and flights?

Yes my friend.

Feb 7, 2018
Lotin:
LifeWithoutWater:

Does the company pay for your hotel and flights?

Yes my friend.

LOL!

Well in all fairness the client pays :) And garggling some balls means i get to stay at 5 star hotels and have enough points to spend a year in a hotel without for free ever checking out, sure, why not.

Feb 7, 2018

If you're a second year analyst then why are you asking this question? o.O

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Feb 7, 2018

pay is different dude^

Feb 7, 2018

yes, MBB. Hours vary depending on project and office culture.

Feb 7, 2018
phdconsultant:

yes, MBB. Hours vary depending on project and office culture.

just curious, did you come into MBB after phd? what did you study for your phd? did you start at same position and comp as people out of MBA?

lastly, do you know what many of ex-MBB associate consultants end up 3-4 years? (what are some typical exit options sought after by MBB consultants)

Thx

Feb 7, 2018
Sexy_Like_Enrique:
phdconsultant:

yes, MBB. Hours vary depending on project and office culture.

just curious, did you come into MBB after phd? what did you study for your phd? did you start at same position and comp as people out of MBA?

lastly, do you know what many of ex-MBB associate consultants end up 3-4 years? (what are some typical exit options sought after by MBB consultants)

Thx

Yes, started immediately after phd. Yes, same position and comp as post MBA. Exit opps are incredibly varied from svp in corporate finance for f500, COO of regional fitenss chain, starting own company, strategy /opeorations manager, some private equity.

search for my posts on the advanced degree path if you want more info.

Feb 7, 2018

sounds great to me.

Get it!

Feb 7, 2018

Very similar to phdconsultant, except I usually choose to head down the night before on a red eye 'cause I hate mornings. Near identical hours, and as he stated the day involves a mix of e-mails, follow-up on requests, analyzing data, writing short reports, documenting what you did....making revisions to the work once you have the EM's review notes, and off and on fighting fires.

I also try to find time to review what is going on in the firm, check and see how friends are doing on their assignments with the interoffice messenger.

Still, I gotta say I certainly see the hours being identical to phd's, and I'm Big 4.

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Feb 7, 2018
TylerT:

Very similar to phdconsultant, except I usually choose to head down the night before on a red eye 'cause I hate mornings. Near identical hours, and as he stated the day involves a mix of e-mails, follow-up on requests, analyzing data, writing short reports, documenting what you did....making revisions to the work once you have the EM's review notes, and off and on fighting fires.

I also try to find time to review what is going on in the firm, check and see how friends are doing on their assignments with the interoffice messenger.

Still, I gotta say I certainly see the hours being identical to phd's, and I'm Big 4.

Do you work as an associate?

I did a summer internship at a top strategy consulting firm, and all I did was research data and do grunt excel work. I thought as you move up the ladder, you would do more interesting/ stimulating work than pure data research, which, many times, may not lead anywhere.

Feb 7, 2018

Dont forget the client ball gargling

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Feb 7, 2018
TonyPerkis:

Dont forget the client ball gargling

I wouldn't go there Perkis, in this market you Asset Managers probably have to give up the bunghole ^_^

Feb 7, 2018

hahaha +1

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Feb 7, 2018

Associate life is always a pain...Keep in mind as an Assoc you are supporting the analyst, which means analysts have more control over their hours, and u don't because you're just there to serve them on hand and foot. But no pain, no gain...u have to go through the rites of passage before u can become an analyst. Exit opps are definitely much better after a stint as an Associate.

Feb 7, 2018
ibd victim:

Associate life is always a pain...Keep in mind as an Assoc you are supporting the analyst, which means analysts have more control over their hours, and u don't because you're just there to serve them on hand and foot. But no pain, no gain...u have to go through the rites of passage before u can become an analyst. Exit opps are definitely much better after a stint as an Associate.

What... the.... Title reversal?

Either you sling crack rock or you got a wicked jump shot

Feb 7, 2018
ibd victim:

Associate life is always a pain...Keep in mind as an Assoc you are supporting the analyst, which means analysts have more control over their hours, and u don't because you're just there to serve them on hand and foot. But no pain, no gain...u have to go through the rites of passage before u can become an analyst. Exit opps are definitely much better after a stint as an Associate.

Are you talking about equity research?

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Feb 7, 2018

"Keep in mind as an Assoc you are supporting the analyst"

"u have to go through the rites of passage before u can become an analyst"

You have to be an analyst first before becoming an associate, assuming the original question was regarding IB associates.

Feb 7, 2018

yeah that's equity research for sure.

Feb 7, 2018

I guess people don't understand that this an I-Banking forum, which is different from the Equity Research forum.

Feb 7, 2018

Associates have somewhat more control over their hours as the analyst supports them. You can assign the more tedious tasks like formatting, comps, research to the analyst.

On the other hand, an Associate is usually in banking for the medium to long haul. Its a longer term career choice, whereas an analyst has an out after two years and can more easily switch careers. If an analyst is fired, it's easier at a young age to pick up something new. Lots of analysts leave banking and go on to other things, lke marketing, law, master's degrees, etc. Thus, the Associate really needs to impress the higher-ups either to be promoted or to move to other finance careers as he has selected high finance as a career path.

So while an Associate may spend less time at the office, the job is more emotionally stressful. There is less tedium, but still plenty of it. Only at the VP level, when you no longer create any work product, do you move away from tedium.

As for Ivy League MBAs - Investment Banks don't differentiate between Ivy or non-Ivy once you're hired. An Ivy pedigree may make it easier to be hired, but once in, all the other Associates should be of the same caliber, regardless of where they came from.

Feb 7, 2018

I'm interested in what you mean by VPs no longer create any work product......are you saying that its almost 100% relationship building at the VP level?

Thanks.

Feb 7, 2018

"Ivy MBA"??? Ivy doesn't mean anything for MBAs. Cornell and Yale are both Ivy and have never made it higher than the bottom of the top 15. Columbia and Tuck are top 10, but not top 5. Chicago, MIT, Stanford--MBA or undergrad level those schools will match any Ivy and beat most of them.

Feb 7, 2018

Agreed. Ivy only matters for college + grad school. For med, law, bus, or any other professional degree ivy means nothing.

Feb 7, 2018

They spend a lot more time on the road and phone. They do review work product, but besides writing some form e-mails or drawing up an engagement letter, VPs in my office almost never touch work product except to mark it up. In other words, the analyst/associate has already put together a solid draft of any book/preso/model before a VP looks at it, and then he will mark it up on paper before the analyst/associate goes and makes the changes.

Feb 7, 2018

what i meant originally is the life of an IBD associate, which clearly, is a level above analyst rather than supporting analyst. So what're the avearage hours of a BB associate, 90 maybe ? I know very few associates make it to VP; is the percentage around 25% or even less ? I heard the average time to be promoted to VP from associate is 5 years, is this a guaranted raise so long as a person stays long enough ?

Feb 7, 2018

In my group it's a guaranteed promotion, and it's less than five years.

Of course, if they don't think you should be a VP, they'll make sure you're out of there within a few years.

Feb 7, 2018

is 30 too old for first year associate ?

Feb 7, 2018
ciasweet1:

is 30 too old for first year associate ?

Absolutely not. If you're done with your analyst stint when you're 24, you do like another year of something else, and then 2 years of MBA, that'd put the EARLIEST one could realistically be a (MBA-holding) associate at like 26-27. 30 is by no means "too old".

Feb 7, 2018

Yeah, maybe 30 is not "too old" to be a 1st-year associate.Yet surrounded by a bunch of ppl at their twenties who are doing the same type of job as you and who obviously have more energies than you physically, doesn't that put you into disadvantage somehow ? I mean to be 1st-year associate in IBD at 30, that's kinda rare right ?

Feb 7, 2018

Come off it, do your batteries run out or something at the age of 30. Yes you may be have other things going on in life like a wife etc but I really don't believe a 25yr old (on average the earliest you could be an associate in IBD) has more physical energy than a 30yr old. Though from a general career point of view it is admittedly on the old side when you have a good few people making MD at 35.

Feb 7, 2018

There are a few types of associate, but the ones i've come across mostly are:

  1. the direct promote. bona fide rockstar. dangers are that he beocmes the uber analyst and ends up more or less doing it all himself. he can also be either the greatest associate to work with as you can learn loads OR he's a bitter twisted monstrosity in which case your life as an analyst will suck, he'll know everything, will have a zero tolerance attitude and generally make your bowels loosen.
  2. the MBA associate from an industry other than IB. In other words the biggest pain in your ass as an analyst. This guy knows NOTHING about how IB works but is full of grand and lofty notions that have no place in a junior IB dream team. He'll make your life miserable with endless "ideas" that he thinks the MD will want to see and will not listen to your pleas of "but when he [MD] says 'xxx' he means 'xyz'...trust me" and thus makes your life hell; filled with endless BS analysis that the MD will not appreciate at the end of the day..and will probably blame you for. This particular blend of associate will also not appreciate the time it takes to complete xyz analysis so will promise the unattainable on your behalf thus making you look like a fuckwit who cannot keep to deadlines.

Some may argue that associate #2 has a career longevity that associate #1 will not enjoy....my personal jury is out on that one.

As an associate myself, the hours are better (slightly) but the buck really does stop with you. Attention to detail is all important...an analyst can make mistakes, an associate must pick them up. as associate must also start having independent thoughts, which after 2-3 years as an analyst comes as somewhat of a shock to the system. This is the testing ground...next step VP and relative easy street, you get to blame the associate for the analysts mistakes and repeat what the MD says to anyone who will listen....

Feb 7, 2018

Nice post, Living.

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Feb 7, 2018

I have currently been spending a lot of time working with a "#2" associate and it has been a nightmare. Zero independent thinking, everything becomes a hellish test of will, and utterly petrified to give anything to the VP/MD that doesn't have every possible base covered, even if it isn't related to the task at hand.

Feb 7, 2018

I agree with Living... the buck stops with us. If I don't catch a mistake I'm made to feel like an ass, as it so happened today. If I don't "think through" whatever issue I'm underperforming. Sigh. I definitely feel the grunt of the system. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

Feb 7, 2018

Not many #2 associates in Australia.

Feb 7, 2018

What can a #2 do before hand to avoid the trap? Or is it simply impossible to pick up from the outside? I will be a #2 in two years and would like to avoid being the "Uh OH!" Associate amongst the Analyst ranks.

Feb 7, 2018

Livingthedream said it very well. You do have more control over hours, but, especially as a #1 (my experience), you can no longer plead ignorance on anything, you can sometimes fall into the trap of being a SuperAnalyst rather than an Associate, and you have to learn to think and stand up for yourself. The hardest parts of the transition from line worker to foreman for me were:

1) The trust / patience exercise: Spending the time to break down projects into discrete tasks so that Analysts will do a better job and ultimately become more autonomous. Then taking the time to clearly and tactfully explain where they went wrong when mistakes are made. It takes much more time to do that, but I quickly realized that I was taking a step backwards if I threw my hands up and did or re-did something all myself.

2) Learning to disagree, and learning to sell. The training wheels start to come off and you have to begin to learn to be an investment banker, not just an investment banking Analyst. This applies to interactions with everybody: peers, superiors, clients, prospective buyers, etc... It can sometimes be hard, because as an Analyst you are brought up to say "yes, right away" and generally be agreeable. You do as you're told, and if you do that and do it well, you can be a great Analyst. As an Associate, if you're architecting a book, pitch, analysis, or some other deliverable, you have to be able to convincingly defend why you've done something the way you've done it to whomever might read it, which can be a very broad audience sometimes. This ability to cast off your Analyst shackles and overcome the initial intimidation of having to sell your deal and occasionally mentally spar with buyers/due diligence teams/capital providers that are usually WAY older and more experienced than you is very, very key to successfully growing into your next role as VP.

So to sum up, yes, the hours are sometimes shorter, but the safety net is gone and the pressure is turned up. I personally enjoy it more, but it's a different kind of challenge than the Analyst experience and could be much more difficult for some people. A #2 Associate, if they don't come from a related industry that does deals like PE, corp dev, mezz, or some other type of lending, certainly has their work cut out for them, but it's definitely not impossible to do well--I know and have known plenty of awesome #2 Associates.

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Feb 7, 2018

it's rumored that 3rd year associate made $300-$500G (salary+bonus all in) last year in GS. can it possibly be that high ? I think the media always get the number wrong by posting figures way above the actual pay.

Feb 7, 2018

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