Has IB Work/Life Balance Changed in 2019?

ROK_Marines's picture
Rank: Orangutan | 252

It has been awhile that tech & start up companies offer more comfortable and lucrative careers to top tier students, and banks have been enforcing protected weekends to secure their talent pool.

Do you think these past few years work/life balance has changed in the industry or have the hours just shifted to different days?

Comments (43)

Funniest
Apr 12, 2019

Nope, work-life balance is still very hard to come by in IB. The transaction volume never seems to slow across all reputable firms. Personally, I got fed up and put in my 2 weeks. I now work at bed bath and beyond.

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Apr 13, 2019

Nothing better than bed bath and beyond my friend

Apr 24, 2019

BB&B is second tier. Everyone knows it's Crate & Barrel or bust

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Apr 25, 2019

Did you find with these jobs that you have to proactively hunt in job boards, Linkedin, etc., or wait for headhunters to help before you up and quit?

Apr 13, 2019

Interested as well!

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Apr 13, 2019

nice

Most Helpful
Apr 13, 2019

Can people stop with the meme about tech competing with finance for top tier students? It's not happening for most of the demographic that goes into finance.

The vast majority of entry level hires in finance are kids that go to top schools and self select into econ or some business major - there isn't a clear path for the best folks in that demographic to make it in tech. You're more likely to find top technical and design minded students being sought after in tech rather than the wannabe gordon gekkos.

The wannabe bankers get the "other" jobs that also exist in literally any corp (and ergo, have always been "an alternative" which is more like a backup for high finance in reality) like HR, Ops, FP&A, Sales, Marketing etc. This narrative of tech poaching kids who would have gone into finance is just not true at the undergrad level in non-quant roles.

True "poaching" happens after kids have already started in finance or consulting.

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Apr 23, 2019

Personally, I tell all the underclassmen I talk to that one thing I wish I had done was at least looked at CS / tech earlier on in college so I could've tested the waters there instead of just going all in on finance.

I think you definitely have kids who are undecided going into college about what they want to do and who knows, they decide to major in CS over econ because they know to make the big bucks as an econ major that you'll likely have to slave away in banking first.

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Apr 13, 2019

My point was the type of kid to self-select into CS and the type of kid to self-select into Econ/Biz/Liberal Arts are usually very different - personality wise, academic interest wise, temperament wise so on and so forth.

At the end of the day, there's no point trying to force a rectangle into a circular slot when it's obvious the rectangular slot would make much more sense for them. Now, you do indeed get some folks who can "flex" from a rectangle into a circle but they are so rare when compared to the average case that there's not much point bringing them up.

Apr 23, 2019
princepieman:

True "poaching" happens after kids have already started in finance or consulting.

Exactly...start-ups need people who know how to wear many hats and have experience, not entry level employees.

Apr 23, 2019

Uhhh I disagree with this...

I mean you're right to an extent. The kid who goes to NYU to study finance is still pretty damn likely to go into banking. But...

1) I think more talented people are choosing to study Computer Science than study econ/finance. CS is the fastest growing major at a lot of different undergrads. So at that branch in the decision tree, a lot of talented people are choosing to go down a path that leads towards tech than a path that leads towards finance.

2) By junior year, yeah there is the demographic that is committed to banking (although per point 1, this demographic is smaller than it used to be), but there's also always been a much larger demographic of more open-minded folks who just want to do something that gives them ego gratification and pays them well. In the past, this group leaned more towards banking, and now, it's clear that tech is taking more and more of these people.

YMMV and at some schools, banking is still the "it" job, but trust me, at a lot of schools, tech is becoming a real thing.

Source: Being involved with UG recruitment professionally and having cousins/siblings/family friends who are in school now at a variety of top tier schools (specifically Penn, Harvard, Northwestern, Michigan, Cornell)

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Apr 23, 2019

Eh....true but consider that tech has been "hot" for a really long time. I went to college in the early 2000s and was at one of the first schools to have Facebook. It was super obvious to anyone with half a brain that tech was going to be super important. Guess what? Almost no one I knew got a CS degree. It's fucking hard....people don't like doing that shit.

So yes, there will be a few more CS majors but don't expect some huge wave of them. Here we are 20 years after the internet became huge, and I'm still not seeing a huge surge in CS majors. When math becomes cool, we'll see that wave. Until then keep your fingers crossed.

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Apr 24, 2019

Right - that's why the % of students going into tech companies at the top business schools has shot through the roof in the past 10 years. It's the incoming MBAs who self-select into their business school's computer science & design classes. All those Stanford GSB students just took the "other" jobs in tech because they couldn't handle the rocket science of M&A models and Powerpoint formatting.

Apr 13, 2019

Not sure what angle this post is coming from/making a point to.. I was talking about UG; MBAs typically go into business roles anyway and the more interesting strategic/product ones at that.

Apr 24, 2019

Isn't that a little circular? You say tech isn't competing with finance because kids who choose finance go into finance.

If internship hiring begins late sophomore year, and kids are selecting majors only a few months before that, then I think they're basically choosing their career before they choose their major. So whatever industry competition that you don't think exists (tech vs. finance for example) may be happening much earlier in the game.

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Apr 13, 2019

There has definitely been a focus within the industry to improve junior work / life balance, led by the bulge bracket banks. JPMorgan had a 'pencils down' policy where work had to stop between Friday at 7pm and Saturday at noon. We also got 1 protected weekend per month. This did promote shifting work more to the weekdays. But as you would suspect, lots of people broke these rules. I wrote a blog post about this here.

At the end of the day, it is still really tough and I don't see that improving significantly. It really is driven by your individual group's culture and the team you are on (not just your bank). If you have good senior people who plan ahead and are thoughtful, that can drastically improve work/life balance.

In my opinion, IB is still 100% worth the experience, regardless of the hours.

Apr 13, 2019

Could you go into some of the biggest things you got out of your analyst experience?

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Apr 24, 2019

You mean Sunday at noon, right? Otherwise that's just getting Saturday morning off...

Apr 24, 2019

No it's actually Saturday at noon... But combined that with 1 protected weekend per month, that's actually pretty good.

Array

Apr 13, 2019

Haha I wish. As someone confirmed above, I did mean Saturday at noon.

Apr 23, 2019

I work at a middle market sweatshop - it's brutal.

"Work ethic, work ethic" - Vince Vaughn
Apr 24, 2019

Details?

Apr 23, 2019

We take every deal we get and are understaffed, so I'm really doing the job of about three people. It's easily 100+ hours a week. However, pay is competitive and I've built up enough rapport around here that I can show up late if I worked a late night, leave the office for personal reasons during the day, etc. I'll be able to tough this out for another year or so.

"Work ethic, work ethic" - Vince Vaughn
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Apr 24, 2019

For analysts it's been a real change. Sure there can be some shifting of hours, but a full weekend off every month to recharge is pretty key. Also, I don't think there's been a lot of shifting of hours. Instead, more shit rolls uphill. i.e. Associates and VPs bear the brunt of dealing with the coddling of analysts. A/VP's stay later and face more pressure to be "efficient" with analyst resources, which is often code for neatly tailoring the ask for the analyst so that the analyst can just crank it out with minimal thoughtfulness.

Apr 23, 2019

Efficiency here is key. Turning a CIM until 4am just to work on the most idiotic things such as printing out a color coded map repeatedly to hand to your VP who keeps saying things like "make it a little warmer," "how about a little darker," "I don't like that orange" is fucking stupid. That by the way, is a true story. Literally spent 45 minutes after midnight running back and forth from the production printer (since the regular printer wouldn't be "accurate" enough) and the douchebag VPs office who thought that would be the difference maker to somebody wanting to buy the company.

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Apr 24, 2019

The joke is on the VP for being in the office at that hour.

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Apr 24, 2019

There's a lot of VPs who have no idea how to add value beyond what they did as an associate. They were good associates, then they get promoted to a fancier title and they're paranoid that they need to somehow do more to justify that. Of course, what the bank actually wants them to do is build client skills to succeed at the next level; but that sounds too intangible and they're brainwashed into doing things that yield objective immediate results, so they do idiotic shit like over-manage books.

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Apr 25, 2019

Endurance is the main quality that makes people good at IB. if you reduced the work hours it would be a job a lot of people with a college degree could do and you could pay people way less to do it.

My 2 cents. Disclaimer: Still shooting for IB one day.