Moelis is a Sweatshop

"Moelis is a sweatshop" is the lullaby at the 399 Park Avenue bullpen. Given our reputation as a sweatshop, I figured I would add some color to the below email that has been circulating its way across the street to cement our status on the street as a true ex-DLJ legacy shop. In short, if you want go the buy-side / have some semblance of a life, do not come to Moelis. If you like taking twelve inches, be my guest.

To create some context, in recent weeks, we have had close to a third of the second year analyst class and half of the second year associate class leave (bonuses!), while dealflow generated by moonshot pitches continue to pick-up. To accommodate, the first year staffer proceeds to staff analysts at will (cc'ed Bobby will assist).

This Wednesday, despite having a full class of analysts working consistently till 3 am (including on Easter) in the last few weeks, our staffer (chosen by the lovely business management at Moelis), creatively decided to pull a bed check on the floor (Ken - feel free to share with shareholders on how we improve operational efficiency by grinding employees to the bone). As you can imagine, my class was not thrilled and proceeded to leak the thoughtful note.

Since joining Moelis as a wee summer intern, it has truly been sad to see the direction its been going. Despite promising its analysts a generalist experience and buy-side support, I can personally comment on how the toxic culture has caused several of our analysts to truly questions their decision to join our firm. Many of my classmates are sick of being put on pitches in industries / products (how is risk advisory, investment banking?) that they have no interest in. The majority of my class was forced to sit out of recruiting because we were truly too busy when recruiting kicked off. In short, to those looking at lateral opportunities or students (wish I could go back), Moelis is a sweatshop - join Evercore instead.


Subject: Tonight

I just walked the floor and saw the following people in their seats:

I know that you are ALL working very hard and are stretched thin across multiple projects. Given that new staffings continue to flow in and you are all very near capacity, the only way I can think of to differentiate among you is to see who is in the office in the wee hours of the morning. I know that everyone works differently and you all likely have a docking station set up at home, but I have found that when you are truly jammed with no end in sight, you should stay in the office because the connection is faster, your associates (and potentially VP's) are in close proximity, and you have access to firm resources (office services, Bloomberg, etc.).

That said, this method isn't perfect and if you have any suggestions on how I can do this more accurately, I'm all ears. On the bright side, we only have a week and a half until our class dinner! Looking forward to blowing off some steam with everyone!


399 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10022"

P.S. I made the list #toobusy

email_screenshot.jpg 278.04 KB278.04 KB

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Comments (134)

Apr 4, 2018 - 10:43pm

man I feel bad for you guys. I'd leak this staffers name honestly, maybe that'll get some traction. Maybe try and send this email to a NYT reporter or something.

Idk maybe I'm just a rebel but there's just NO WAY I could tolerate that shit.

Hang in there bro

EDIT: At the very least, make it very well known on this forum how horrible the culture is and hopefully people will start to avoid it (doubtful) but maybe that'd gain some traction.

Apr 9, 2018 - 9:46pm

Agree- I interviewed with Moelis and Sadly, it did not pull through.

Still received an offer at PJT NY for FT, but I would take Moelis offer in a heartbeat for the Exits. There is definitely not a program like this on the street where you are generalist on both RX and M&A. Honestly, all you need to do is ,grind it out for like 1.5 years then off to Mega fund.

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Apr 4, 2018 - 11:56pm

Your analysts are giving you 110% while understaffed and you proceed to tear your team down by ragging on the few who are catching shut eye to keep grinding the next day? Man, f that staffer.

Life is my favorite drinking game - gselevator

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Apr 5, 2018 - 2:40am

You guys have my respect. toobusy. Keep grinding and keep pushing, you got this.

No pain no game.

Apr 5, 2018 - 8:31pm

Pain makes you stronger.

This mantra triggers my autism. Excessive pain imposed upon you - especially by someone in a position of power over you in an employment situation - does not necessarily beget strength. Unnecessary strife often begets anger, which can quickly become a sort of "metastasized" pain wrapped in only a facade of strength.

Stay woke, mi amigo.

Apr 5, 2018 - 10:55am
while dealflow generated by moonshot pitches continue to pick-up. To accommodate, the first year staffer proceeds to staff analysts at will (cc'ed Bobby will assist).

This is what is surprising to me. Moelis isn't just taking moonshot pitches, but taking moonshot deals. I was involved in a bake off with a deal Moelis won and their valuation was ludicrous. Of course the deal will never get done because the financial sponsor grossly exaggerated EBITDA.

It was shocking and silly of any bank to view the business in the way that Moelis did, without pushing back on the sponsor, which is well known for using EBITDA hyperbole.

Apr 5, 2018 - 11:14am

to his credit...Ken has created some incredible shareholder value on some of these moonshots. a good friend of mine runs one of the groups there. its not all as bad as these analysts are making it out to be....just depends on which group you get into...there are always a few bad apples at whichever firm you goto.

just google're welcome
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Apr 5, 2018 - 7:12pm

My guess is that Ken is not too involved with the day to day decisions surrounding analyst staffings.

He may seem like a nice guy but he's clearly not prioritized junior level QOL when developing the direction of the firm.

"I know you think you understand what you thought I said but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant."

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Apr 5, 2018 - 11:42am

I can't believe anything like this happen anywhere. Good lord. Finish your two years if you have to but then leave IMMEDIATELY. Go to an MBA or some shit. Yikes.

Apr 5, 2018 - 12:58pm

Well this is sad but not all that surprising...

Based on our 2018 IB Industry Report so far (hour chart near bottom), Moelis is #5 out of #137 IBs for most hours worked coming in at an average of 84.3hrs/week and has jumped 4 spots since the 2017 report (they were ranked #9 before).

Also, out of the top 10 banks for most hrs/week, I'd say they are by far the most sought after by undergrads. I'm confident this will get some press and will hopefully change the staffing model (and/or bring in some lateral help asap).

Stay strong!

Apr 5, 2018 - 9:31pm

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  • 2
Apr 5, 2018 - 1:16pm

During my IB SA stint, my analyst went to the bathroom one day. Staffer shows up: "hey, where's [his first name]?"

Me: "He went to the bathroom"

Staffer: "Alright, I'll just hang around till he's back"

analyst arrives 10 minutes later

Staffer: "Jesus man, start eating some fiber and take your shits before and after work at home. Haven't you gotten on a shit schedule for that?"

The analyst laughs his ass off thinking it's a joke

Staffer: sternly 'I'm not joking, I'm fucking serious."

Some people in IB have zero clue how to be decent human beings.

Apr 5, 2018 - 3:57pm

During my IB SA stint, my analyst went to the bathroom one day. Staffer shows up: "hey, where's [his first name]?"

Me: "He went to the bathroom"

Staffer: "Alright, I'll just hang around till he's back"

analyst arrives 10 minutes later

Staffer: "Jesus man, start eating some fiber and take your shits before and after work at home. Haven't you gotten on a shit schedule for that?"

The analyst laughs his ass off thinking it's a joke

Staffer: sternly 'I'm not joking, I'm fucking serious."

Some people in IB have zero clue how to be decent human beings.

Dude... what? Please tell me you didn't return to that firm
Apr 5, 2018 - 3:31pm

Hey remember during the interviews when the person asked if you knew about the long hours and lots of work?

Remember your scripted answer that you look forward to working with the team and you are willing to put in the hours, maybe even go through a brick wall for the team?

This is not a surprise.

Crybaby analysts are sad. MS me, but you know you told the staffer when you started that you knew what was about to happen.

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Apr 5, 2018 - 4:12pm

Reprimanding analyst for not being in the office at 2am is an unsustainable practice. A lot of intelligent people are not going into banking for this very reason and I imagine there will be a steady decline in talent. So long as top students can find better alternatives, banking seems like a crappy option.

I don't care who your dad is
  • 1
Apr 5, 2018 - 4:19pm

Lol you think that email was reprimanding analysts?

It doesn't seem to me that this is a regular practice, which is why the email was sent in the first place. The staffer was explaining the rationale for why some people are about to get staffed. Its not that complicated. The staffer acknowledges that people are already working hard, are already close to capacity, and then had the unfortunate task of basically saying "I have to be the bad guy here, so here is my rationale for those about to get more work."

You crybabies only feel bad for the people not named, but the peeps named in the email are jumping for joy too that they are at least at the bottom of the list. Its tough, but you know what you signed up for. Stuff like this comes in waves...summer is close and it slows down. This will pass. Get over it.

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Apr 5, 2018 - 4:26pm

LOL ok yeah being a dick for explaining why some peeps are about to get staffed, rather than just doing it. I hope the analysts fire back an email to the MDs explaining that they are sleepy and don't want to do their work, and that maybe they should hire some more analysts or temps so that during this busy time some of the the real tough guys can get some shut eye.

This email was a courtesy.

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Apr 5, 2018 - 5:39pm

So do you draw any distinction between, say, an 18 hour day six days a week, and a 23.5 hour day, 7 days a week? Both are "long hours and lots of work", so according to you, there's nothing to complain or worry about?
If this is costing Moelis people, the staffer should be managing up, not down. You'd be shocked at how expensive it is to replace bankers, even at junior levels, off cycle.

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Apr 6, 2018 - 8:58am

You're right, but adding bankers for a short stint where peeps get crushed is as waste of resources in the long run too.

I work in energy now...its all supply and don't size a pipeline so that its full one day a don't hire analysts so that on the hardest day its easy for everybody.

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Apr 5, 2018 - 7:17pm

Smh this is a ridiculous approach.

I bet you're also the guy who tells a grieving widow that her husband who died in war "knew what he was signing up for."

"I know you think you understand what you thought I said but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant."

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Apr 6, 2018 - 8:57am

No, I would not tell a grieving widow that. I would tell her that I can never understand what she is going through and the sacrifice that he made for his country. He was brave in the face of evil and fought to the end, giving everything he had, for a cause he believed in. We need more men like this.

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Apr 6, 2018 - 8:56am

Yes. I have worked in banking. Banking ebbs and flows. Sometimes people get crushed and sometimes they don't, but you need to right-size the analyst pool for both period. You cannot bring in analysts for 2 weeks and hold them over for the next month when its slow all summer.

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Apr 6, 2018 - 9:02am

Also, when I was in banking 2am wasn't a crazy late night. I would say I averaged 2am, so that there were a bunch of analysts out, enough that the staffer named the ones still there, shows that there is still capacity.

For all you know, the analysts that the staffer were targeting were second years that have checked out saying that they are going to get staffed against their wishes despite moving in in two months.

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Apr 6, 2018 - 8:59am

Pitching the $100bn merger that will never happen showing how smart you are and then hoping that if it ever happens you get it.

Apr 5, 2018 - 7:57pm

What's the likelihood of those analysts being allowed to show up for the class dinner?

"Hi Everyone, just wanted to confirm the location for tonight's dinner. It will be held at 399 Park Avenue, and you'll each be served a special entree that's been specially selected for you. Enjoy!

P.S. Entree means a new pitch for you folks that can't read between the lines (i.e., the ones who weren't in your seats last week). And it goes without saying, leaving early is rude table manners.

We've ordered a pizza - you're welcome."

Apr 6, 2018 - 2:20pm

24/7 supply of Perrier and La Croix, why would one want to leave the office anyways?

What concert costs 45 cents? 50 Cent feat. Nickelback.

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Apr 5, 2018 - 10:04pm

As a former staffer, I can say that everyone who is bashing the staffer is just shooting the messenger. The bad culture comes top down from the very top. Moelis / DLJ was known as a terrible place to work long before the staffer joined. And it will continue to be a terrible place to work because, despite knowing this, people will still line up around the block to work at Moelis.

Apr 6, 2018 - 7:16am

That's true, the staffer is just a vessel for senior bankers to funnel their shit storm down. It's more a reflection of the overall culture of Moelis, and how they view Analysts (disposable, as opposed to potential long-term talent or network for the firm).

That said, the staffer could have done a better job. It's incredibly tone deaf. And while some people have read the email and said maybe this guy was actually trying to be nice while having the horrible duty of delivering bad news, it can also be read as very passive aggressive. If there are docking stations at home and people are doing their work, there is no need for the bed check at a ridiculous hour.

If senior bankers told this guy he needed to whip the troops, there's a different way to go about it. Maybe have a very quick meeting (bring some coffee for everyone or whatever), say management has been asking more of everyone - I understand everyone's working really hard, is there some way we can get through this... or are there some things we can do (work smarter, not harder) so deliverables get done. Something more akin to "we're all in this together" vs. a shitty passive-aggressive "peter did you get the memo? Yeah.... I'm going to need you to be in and do it exactly like this" type tone.

Apr 6, 2018 - 11:24am

Frankly, because shit is different than when the MD came through the ranks. In terms of the number of shops, the private equity industry has absolutely boomed in the last 10 years. The number of startups has as well. Additionally, strong economic growth has seen corporations and corporate development teams grow. The comparative options for investment banking juniors has never been stronger. This was likely not the case when the MD's/VP's were juniors. While, "exit ops" were good, they were weaker on a comparative basis (almost certainly into the private equity space). Banks have to do more to retain the talent they recruit, otherwise they will leave. Yes, you can probably replace them pretty easily but the people you're replacing them with didn't get the job in the first place for a reason.....

I think the BB firms have done a better job at addressing this issue than the boutiques have. This is primarily due to the volume of juniors they are working with but also because they have more people (with more diverse backgrounds i.e. trading, HR, etc.) with real power thinking about these issues and how to solve them. Bankers are good at a lot of things but they also have a number of faults, managing people is probably one of them. Regardless of how justified he was or not, this particular staffer at Moelis now looks like a complete fuck in the eyes of everyone who knows him. Part of being a good banker is maintaining a strong professional "brand." This motherfucker has tainted his unnecessarily with a very poorly worded mass email.

Apr 12, 2018 - 12:56am

This is a great and often overlooked point. Have a senior guy at my bank who was an analyst at ML during the late 90s and mid 2000s and he said that back when he was an analyst, going into PE/corp dev wasn't nearly as prevalent or as much of an option as it is for analysts now. He said if you worked at Citi/ML type shop and wanted to stay in finance, most juniors focused on trying to get to Goldman/MS and a lot even went to get MBAs with the hopes of going back to banking at one of those places. Analysts now have way more options than to subject themselves to a unforgiving and arguably toxic culture. No place is perfect, but unreasonable senior bankers should know that there should be more effort made to retain talent and at least try to make the lives of juniors better.

Apr 6, 2018 - 11:07am

the guys who are MD now were once low level analysts...and they worked till 2am almost every night (i should of them was my roommate many moons ago) until they got promoted up the chain. Everybody going into IB knows this.

Its the same for accounting. Right now is tax "busy season" (March-April 15th), and tax accountants at the big4 are working from 8am-->2-3am every night...6-7 days a week (for a LOT less pay than IB).

so...get over it...this whole "work life balance" didn't exist when your MD was coming up the ranks...why do you think you should get it easier, when your MD suffered the same when he was in your shoes.

Lol such a fucking retarded view on things. "that's how it's always been done... I went through it, so should they"

I mean I guess we should just never change anything. Who needs better processes?

Fuck, why do I need this iPhone? These MDs used brick phones with antennas back in the day. So should we.

Apr 7, 2018 - 2:37am

People line up for banking for the money and the prestige, but they don't line up for a toxic working environment. That alone can make or break your banking experience. I was never a staffer, but to me, walking the bullpen late at night to see who is / isn't at their chair is a lazy way of measuring performance. For example, I knew a senior analyst who pushed most of his work to a junior analyst but also stayed in the office late to work on recruiting. It's not wrong to tell your people to stay in the office due to resources, but to name people specifically is incredibly passive aggressive. The fact that the staffer tries to lessen the blow with feigned care and understanding makes it even worse. I would have a bad taste in my mouth even if I was one of those listed. Yeah, culture comes from the top and don't shoot the messenger, but this messenger delivered the message poorly.

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Apr 8, 2018 - 2:04am

People need to chill out about this.

you get what you sign up for - Sweatshop hours, but a golden ticket to top exits, even if you went to semi target school. Amazing deals to put your resume. And lastly, the nod you get during the interview that you are technically good (although not entirely true).

I would have killed for a moelis offer, as I had to hustle way harder to get to where I am today, (Oh and I come from GS,MS,JPM). So stop complaining and forwarding this kind of email to the world, as it only makes your firm look terrible.

Apr 8, 2018 - 1:46pm

Not true. No one signs up for this. You sign up knowing that the work load may require long hours but not to have a 'Big Brother' style monitoring of your work.

And to add to what has been said by a few on this thread about how people 'would kill to have the chance to work at Moelis'; how many people get an offer from Moelis and ONLY Moelis? Probably not many. I would imagine a large portion of people would have got another EB or BB offer too. Perhaps before hearing this, Moelis seemed like the best option prestige-wise but you're really telling me that you would still take this working environment over something marginally lower prestige-wise but with better conditions?

If I were in the application season I would still apply to Moelis but had I received offers from Moelis and say...Greenhill, based on this I would take the latter.

Apr 8, 2018 - 12:22pm

So would now be a good time to reach out to associates / VPs at Moelis about lateral hires?


  • 1
Apr 8, 2018 - 6:09pm

Sure. Here's a template:

Dear Moelis Associate,

I am writing to express my full support behind your recent leaked email. What a bunch of ingrates; they don't know how good they have it at Moelis. I understand the NY team is short staffed, and apparently full of lazy whiners. I would like to take this opportunity to offer my application for an Analyst position for your consideration. Rest assured, if given the chance, I will thrive in Moelis' demanding culture and will be cranking nightly at 3am or later. "I'm at capacity" is not a part of my vocabulary, "I'm available, where do you need me" is.


Apr 11, 2018 - 11:00pm

PS. I have a prescription to Modafinil, Adderall, and my girlfriend works at Redbull and gets as much free redbull as she wants.

I also have adapted to the Uberman sleep schedule, so I only need 20 minutes of sleep every 4 hours totalling 2 hours every day so I never have to leave the office.

Only taking REM sleep breaks in the pod next to my desk to get by. The true advantage in today's competitive economy. A true 24 hour work force.

When I sleep, I dream of pitchbooks. I love it so much my dreams match my reality.

Add that and you should be good.

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Apr 9, 2018 - 11:48am

100% agree...have 5x more MS to my name for expressing the realities of banking ha

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Apr 10, 2018 - 4:10am

I am currently a senior position at a BB in LA, and from what I have heard Moelis offices on the westcoast is somewhat chiller than NYC; and perhaps this doesnt provide the best picture of the firm for college or MBA applicants. Also I would blame this email on moelis's deal flow and lack of staff vs. the staffer the person...and this type of culture is prevalent in any bank to be honest, as I have met assholes at UBS, CS, and GS.

Given the opportunity, i wouldnt let this email hinder your decision, as It might be worth it considering Moelis provides top exits for the Sponsors in LA/SF area.

Preferable other top shops are probably better in Life style and can provide equal exits so I would recommend there tbh. Top shops for headhunters , according to my friend whos at Oxbridge, on the westcoast is Moelis (LA/SF),GS TMT and MS Tech... i also heard recently HL rx (LA) is top for distressed funds, but they seem to fall off a little IMO.

The best thing honestly if you are at one of top3-4 school is to recruit directly into PE if thats your long term goal.

Hope this helps.

Aug 22, 2021 - 4:13pm

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