Please Help Me. IBD Analyst Burnt Out 3 Months In.

1st Year Analyst in Investment Banking - Mergers and Acquisitions

All,

Short bio: Full time A1 in a new city. The first weeks starting off were amazing - got my first live, interesting deal. I studied up on it inside out and had a strong social kickoff with new friend networks. I thought this city was unbeatable.

Fast forward three months, I'm so burnt out. I'm on seven live deals within a small team. I work 85-90+ hour weeks, can't make plans with the initial friends I met, and feel my social life slipping by my fingertips. I'm not doing meaningful work - I'm a pitch and diligence bulldozer. I don't even know what my deals are about because as soon as I finish menial work with one I'm hopping right to the next. I'm fully terrified of waking up and hearing the Microsoft Outlook email notification sound because I think I'm late for something or my weekend is compromised.

I'm tired of living this worried and hectic lifestyle. Sure, I might sound like a b**** because this is what IB "should be", but I 100% don't think I can do it. I can maybe take a year of this, but before my health begins to deteriorate, I want to consider other options. Maybe a lateral for better culture (my firm is known for being particularly sweaty) or start following through with HHs in my network for PE/VC. But even beyond that as these options are around a year away - I want to consider doing some interesting work. A risky leap into something like a startup or maybe even MBA, but there is no credible information online on how those risky exits work other than mere anecdotes.

Anyone have advice or some time to chat with me? Could really use a hand. I apologize if content or formatting is messy. Took some time out of work hoping that I'll get some responses to check on later.

Thanks.

Comments (43)

  • Prospective Monkey in Investment Banking - Mergers and Acquisitions
Sep 9, 2019

Yeah bankers are dumb bro. Pivot to tech. What sort of idiot would schedule his team on that sort of workload? Just hire more workers and give less work to each one. New rule don't work for idiots.

450 hours work
5 people = 90 hours each
6 = 75
7 = 62ish
8 = 56ish

Why is this hard.

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Sep 10, 2019

This is not how investment banking works. It is totally dependent on the deal you're on at any given time.

Yes, being on 7 live deals is going to kill you, but the majority of the time if this happens, it's not because there aren't enough bodies. It's usually because all of the pitches and relationship accounts you've got backburner'd unfortunately lit up at the same time. But there have been times where I've been on multiple simmering sell-sides where I've worked less than when I'm working on one short-fused buyside.

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Sep 10, 2019

There is a capability, and probably a need, to build some slack into the staffing structure of the team - if everyone is running at max capacity all the time (sounds like that's this firm's idea), you have no room to staff deals or pitches that pop up without warning.

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Sep 11, 2019

You clearly don't have a clue how the world works

Sep 13, 2019

You clearly never worked in banking.

Work comes in waves and with 1 or 2 day turnaround. Impossible to do the simple calculation of "450 hours of work per week"

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Most Helpful
Sep 9, 2019

What's your degree in? If it's CS, EE or something similar, you can go do that, but you'd probably already have known that, so I'm guessing (Ivy aside) that it's something less STEMy. In that case, the work you're doing is probably at least as "interesting" as anything else you're qualified for right now.

This may not be particularly helpful, but my advice would be to stick it out. If your group is that busy, you're looking at a pretty nice bonus check in a matter of months, and an enviable (and differentiating) amount of live deal experience on your resume. Right or wrong, there is step function in the number and quality of jobs available to you after your first year, and a less dramatic but still meaningful expansion after the standard two years. If you leave now you'll be tainted and likely to regret it.

  • 1st Year Analyst in Investment Banking - Mergers and Acquisitions
Sep 9, 2019

Appreciate the info man. I was a Finance major so I've got little leverage beyond this space. Tbh, my mentality has been pretty volatile. At times when the workload is relatively low, I'll be content with where I am. In others, I'll be miserable. Sticking it out might be the right plan but I'd just like to know of potential plan B's in case, later on in crunch time, this mindset prevails.

Sep 13, 2019

Come on man. I get it, in stressful situations sometimes the mind gets cloudy. You have many options. How important is your time off to you? Do you need to live in nyc? How much of a pay cut are you willing to take? Just a simple example.....go get an office manager job for a small construction firm out on Long Island. Yeah you get paid less, prob 20 an hour but with your background you'd make it work.

Sep 10, 2019

Hang in there, your life will only get better from this point

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Sep 10, 2019

Nothing will change from not doing anything...

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  • 2nd Year Associate in Investment Banking - Generalist
Sep 10, 2019

I disagree.

He's on 7 live deals right now so either his workflow slows down or he'll learn how to better handle it. Not to mention, the experience he's getting will literally make him a 5x better banker.

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Sep 10, 2019

I don't have any advice, but you should edit your OP and remove some details. With the amount of detail you provided, I'm sure people at your bank would know it's you.

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  • 1st Year Analyst in Investment Banking - Mergers and Acquisitions
Sep 10, 2019

Changed. Thanks for the consideration.

Sep 10, 2019

happy to chat with you. Inbox me

Sep 10, 2019

This sounds like Moelis

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Sep 10, 2019

I have not been in banking, but I trade commodities at a physical shop. I get the physical and emotional burn-out feeling and the soul crushing spike your heart takes any time you hear your phone ding.

I tend to agree with some of the other guys. Stick it out. You will learn some interesting things about yourself. I'm taking a break soon due to some emotional burnout, and will maybe write about that later, but I am thankful for the hellacious ride that got me here.

You will either be stretched and learn that you can handle more, and in a year you will find satisfaction in your ability to carry more. Or perhaps, you may continue to burn-out and you will have the opportunity to see a side of yourself you have not seen before. You will learn from that.

beyond the personal growth piece, I think professionally bailing out at 3 or even 6 months will be detrimental.

Look at your current role day-to-day. Survive and try to find little joys and pleasures in the misery. by the time you lift your head up again, you may be at the end of the year. You will drown if you go in everyday counting down the days.

Good luck.

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Sep 10, 2019

Bro it sounds like you still want to just have the cool social life and that's not your job right now. You are not successful based on the friends you make and keep right now, you are about getting the job done in the office. Get it done.

  • 1st Year Analyst in Investment Banking - Mergers and Acquisitions
Sep 10, 2019

You guys are all great. Thank you all for the genuine encouragement and advice; hard to get that quality nowadays on WSO.

In the interim, are there cool exit ops beyond traditional PE/VC you've seen people exit to after around the 1 year mark?

Sep 10, 2019

Those are the most "traditional" exit opportunities that seem evident in the past. I've seen kids go into more Corp.Dev roles, which would still pay well and not work you as much or even advisory/consulting. The crazy thing about ib is, people on the outside think its this glorified role thus making you appear on the far end of the experienced scale. I'm in a very similar boat as you with just starting out but there are lots of exit opportunities. Having ib on your resume will open many doors in different industries for you, you just have to apply.

Sep 11, 2019

Honestly, corp dev seems like the field for you. You work like 50-60 hours a week making 6 figures. You won't get the extreme career trajectory that IB/PE will give you, but you'll still make really good money for much fewer hours doing similar work.

Sep 10, 2019

I don't like promoting our services in the threads, but I think in this case, getting a more senior mentor/s that have worked at your firm (or a similarly sweaty firm) and learn how he/she pivoted out would be helpful (potentially in related industries you are considering).

If you don't have time to find one organically, use WSO to find one and get some good guidance that way. 325 mentors and counting, all right here: https://www.wallstreetoasis.com/wall-street-mentor...
Either way, good luck - sounds brutal, hang in there!
Patrick

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Sep 11, 2019

Rationalize 2 years. Its gonna be a grind. In my opinion make a couple sacrifices now but your work ethic will pay off in the end. Try to start to network buy-side. Best of luck

Sep 11, 2019

It seems like you are struggling socially due to balancing a demanding job and a new city. For the most part, most junior level roles in rewarding career paths are a grind, some especially so (like IB). Whatever your next role is (IB, PE, Corp Dev, etc.) you might want to try to relocate to a city where you have a strong in place network of family and friends. Much easier to maintain relationships than create them.

Sep 11, 2019

Did 2 years of IBing as an Analyst before leaving the finance world to start my own business a decade+ ago. I remember super clearly where you're at. While my hours weren't quite as bad, I wanted to quit VERY, very badly the first 6 months.

A decade plus later I'm incredibly thankful I stuck it out even though I'm not in finance anymore. Here's why:

  • You get a work ethic few can match. Once you've done banking you can work on your own stuff so much more effectively and it anchors you so that few other things feel that rough. It gives you perspective. This is super useful if you start your own gig or go to work for someone else.
  • Getting through a few years of banking as mentioned previously is an instant credibility booster when talking with people who are familiar with it. With once sentence people will assume you work hard, understand the important aspects of finance/business and people will often give you more of a benefit of the doubt quickly. It's an immediate professional networking boost, as long as you're not obnoxious about it and lead with it in every conversation.
  • Chance to save. I lived super frugally for 2 years and left with enough money to live off of for multiple years while starting my business debt-free. Even if you don't do this if you're smart with your money vs. blowing it on wild weekends you can set yourself up for a life-changing pivot after a couple of years.
  • Deep understanding of finance/business. I feel fairly grounded regarding most things financially and business related after 2 years in the trenches. Was thinking about starting a fund and just whipped up a model to get a sense of if it's realistic. This helps with investing, entrepreneurship, landing other jobs, etc.

Hang in there if you can, it's worth it in the end. And if you've got an Associate or VP that you respect and is reasonable come to them with your concerns if you're really getting killed. As long as you normally don't complain and do good, consistent work a "Hey, I'm really struggling now - can you help me think about how to balance/prioritize my work?" will at least let them know where you're at that you need help.

Don't complain or ask for less work - just ask for advice on dealing with it and they'll likely give you some good advice and be aware that you're overladed and maybe be more thoughtful about dropping non-essential stuff on you for a while.

Good luck, this too will pass eventually even though it doesn't feel like it.

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Sep 11, 2019

Yo i was thinking of doing the exact same thing after a 2 year stint, can i PM?

Sep 11, 2019

Sure, no problem.

Sep 11, 2019

try and ride it out without crushing yourself mentally. Burnout is real. Make it a priority to take care of yourself first, whether that is going to the gym, an hour of reading/relaxing, scheduling a massage, etc. I get it...sometimes work will pop up and get in the way. (perhaps more often that you'd like) and you may not have that option. if that's the case, access your tolerability to your work environment and personal life. (not bad at all, not that bad, pretty bad, drop dead) If work is making you a dick to your friends/family, or your mental or physical health start taking a serious toll, the job can be toxic and then i would access your options.

My work environment ebbs and flows, we have busy seasons, and not so busy seasons. I found that whenever I started to feel burnt out was due to that fact that i was neglecting myself of self care. When i started to make myself and my health a priority i felt a lot better (less burnt out and mentally/physically healthier) on top of that my performance at work increased.

just my $0.02, good luck!

Sep 11, 2019

Going through exactly what you are right now OP, although yours seems a bit more extreme. Banking started seriously affecting my health (physical and mental) and I ultimately decided it is not worth it. I started looking elsewhere and was able to land an equity research role I'll be moving to in a couple months. My advice is to seriously reflect on what it is you want out of your life, pay attention to your health and decide whether or not it is worth it for you. That answer is going to be different for everyone which is why I disagree with most people saying to just stick it out. If you decide it isn't for you, start reflecting on the parts of the job that made you excited on that first deal and use that information to look for a role you can apply that more to.

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Sep 13, 2019

Your story sounds pretty similar to mine and most of the people I work with.

I recommend looking into FinTech startups.

As the juniors, we still work for IB MD's / some of the ridiculousness of IB sticks around, but they're really the 'cool' MDs who were tired of IB culture.

We still have our weeks with long hours / get staffed up on deals that take off, but my average week is probably 60-70 hours, vs. 90 during my short time in IB. In over a year, I've worked about 4 weekends, and +/- known they were coming. We don't make as much as top bucket juniors, but we're in the range of the middle bucket / a lot of the best candidates we interview are in your exact position.

We're not getting catered lunch (or even seamless dinner), or ping pong tables in the office or any of that. But we get to use our junior IB skillset to work on cool deals, be in the room with the CEOs of major financial firms (helps that our MDs are mostly ex-FIG coverage), wear jeans (and have one girl who pulls off elephant pants) to the office, and make a bit less than IB money for 2/3 the hours.

It is a much better life.

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Sep 13, 2019

It's a tough lifestyle, no doubt about it, particularly if you move to a new city and don't have preexisting relationships. That tends to be why analyst classes grow very close.

I don't have much help to provide because I still have anxiety over emails coming through and I've been doing this for a while now. It is worse in certain groups or with certain individuals, but it always feels like you are never really able to unplug.

We are in a very active time in the market and deal flow ebbs and flows more than you realize, since you are new. Eventually, you'll close a few, one or two may die or get shelved, and pitch activity will slow down. Just try and ride it out to see if things improve after a certain amount of time.

Sep 13, 2019

I totally get where you're coming from because I've been there myself! You can study and feel prepared for this kind of work all you want, but once you get in you're either going to love it or the lifestyle will hit you like a ton of bricks. Some people just can't handle being pushed to their limits being a worker bee for da man all those hours. But that's okay. It's just not the right culture for you - it certainly wasn't for me, which is why I left the field and retooled myself to do engineering.

MBA's a good way of reinventing yourself - just know where you want to land when you get out so that you make the right choice next time and get your money's worth. Law school is also a good option. STEM is also a good place to be. I don't know exactly what your strengths and interests are - but my suggestion is to do some introspection on that and use that as a guide to plot out a 3 year roadmap.

In my case, I have a knack for computer programming, and I just kind of let that lead me to where I'm at now. Started off small, taking on contract work that was heavy in Excel, but where the programming skills came in handy to make me more productive.

I noticed that a lot of folks who get into this field get sort of wrapped up in the bubble of Wall Street and seem to think it's the only kind of job with prestige and high pay. But there are many options in other industries. You've just got to do a little exploring of other career paths. If you were smart enough to get into IB, you can work your way into other areas where you will be successful and financially prosperous. Another great thing is that most other places don't have the expectation that you have to work so many hours.

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Sep 13, 2019

Dude, that a rough spot to be in, most people on here have been in similar situations and have made it through. So can you. Good luck!

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Sep 13, 2019

PM me - happy to chat

Sep 13, 2019

Stick it out for the bonus and then lateral

Sep 16, 2019

honestly--I just finished a BB internship and was barely holding on mentally at the end of it, and all of the FTers were depressed, balding, overweight, and always in the office. consider what it is you want out of life--a lot of money with extreme general anxiety, or less money and 8 hours of sleep a night, a girlfriend, and a fulfilling work AND personal life.

banking conditions you to think that it is the only industry out there and that you have no other options, and that simply is not true. fuck prestige and take care of yourself. the mental consequences of living like this--severe depression, a lifetime of generalized anxiety, no social life, and physical health toll--are simply not worth it. whats the point of making a ton of money if you are never out of the office (and not catching up on sleep) to spend it?

Sep 16, 2019
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Sep 16, 2019