The lighter side of IB! (Hopefully)

Since joining WSO, I quickly noticed that this is often a place for analysts to vent and share negative experiences being in IB. If one were to look through this forum without IB experience, they would likely be completely scared away entirely from the industry. 

I want to start a thread with just a little optimism: please share your best moments, experiences, most "fun" nights in the bullpen, best groups you worked with, weeks working only 50 hours, any funny moments that have occurred in the office, etc.

We're working our asses off, but there can still be a few moments here and there without existential dread.

(Yes, I know there's a good chance this becomes a sarcasm thread)

Comments (38)

  • Managing Director in IB-M&A
Oct 20, 2020 - 3:18pm

A positive spin on IB would be like going to college, except you make six figures and live in NY where you have access to the best [nightlife, restaurant, concerts, insert whatever] and you are surrounded by young people like you (both from your analyst class and also NY in general).


Yes your days are stressful af but your wild nights are more epic. Saddest people in IB are the ones too scared to live life Friday night and be ready to grind through Saturday hungover. You are going to be an IB analyst for only two or three years. Enjoy it.


Above doesn't apply to COVID days...I do think it's really sad for all IB analysts right now. 

Oct 20, 2020 - 4:52pm

This thread reminded me of a terrible BBC program I saw once called "The Funny Side of the Troubles."

I come from down in the valley, where mister when you're young, they bring you up to do like your daddy done

Most Helpful
Oct 22, 2020 - 12:17pm

After grinding for a few weeks on an intense bake-off pitch that ended up going well, the deal team went to my MDs office afterward for a debrief. While we were talking, my MD looked at me and asked "What are your plans for the protected weekend?". I had no clue what he was talking about and told him I didn't request for one. He then said that he secretly submitted a request for me and that I could be unplugged all weekend. It was an awesome and unexpected surprise from a senior banker.

Oct 22, 2020 - 12:17pm

After grinding for a few weeks on an intense bake-off pitch that ended up going well, the deal team went to my MDs office afterward for a debrief. While we were talking, my MD looked at me and asked "What are your plans for the protected weekend?". I had no clue what he was talking about and told him I didn't request for one. He then said that he secretly submitted a request for me and that I could be unplugged all weekend. It was an awesome and unexpected surprise from a senior banker.

Oct 22, 2020 - 3:53pm

I finally worked up the courage to ask for one weekend to head to New Orleans with some friends to celebrate a birthday with my best friends.  I had not taken a day off in two years and decided the worst that could happen was a simple no.  The VP at the time was a complete hardo and genuine a-hole to his core, but was actually supportive because I had never been and that's where he was from.  I got the weekend and didn't have to be responsive as it was a weekend everyone in the group thought I earned.  We were in heavy outreach for a deal so my email was making my phone buzz every couple seconds so I silenced it and drank the day away.  Apparently the VP had forgot I was going to be unresponsive so the next morning with about 1000 emails in my inbox I came across his blowing an absolute gasket as to why I wasn't responding to him.  Luckily the associate reminded him politely of my travels and he followed up with a pleasant email with an "lol forgot" and list of bars to check out.  Then he got fired and I don't miss him one bit.

Oct 25, 2020 - 1:32pm

Back in my IB day, was making 6 figures entry level chillin most of the time -- life is good

Money can purchase freedom, if you have the guts to buy it
Oct 25, 2020 - 3:24pm

is it really this bad? like do you have 0 time to do anything other than turn excels? You guys have never been to a bar or anything?

path less traveled

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Ind
Oct 26, 2020 - 5:48am

Seems like ages ago, but this time last year as a 1st year analyst was fairly fun. Wasn't on any live deals, so had a bunch of back-to-back non-intensive pitches and was probably doing 70-80 hr weeks between oct and jan. no saturdays and a few hours on sunday. dinner with my fellow analysts everyday and good times overall. all that changed when i got put on a live deal in february. feb - sept was 7 continuous months of back breaking 100 hr weeks. luckily my deal closed, so maybe back minus the nice dinners of course

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Ind
Oct 26, 2020 - 9:39am

Sure they are more "interesting", but the stress is unbelievable. Remember how many parties there can be in a live process and how everything has to be extremely accurate while looking presentable. This is multiplied when you have a demanding client (i.e. MF sponsor or public company)

After my experience, i would much rather have 2-3 pitches over a live deal.

Oct 27, 2020 - 5:31pm

Not exactly what you asked for in your post, but not a lot of serious answers in this thread so here's a short list of positive aspects/experiences based on my time at a not so elite boutique (I worked on a lean team, full of great teammates by all metrics, so your mileage may vary):

Its a cliche, but a major positive of the job for me was the learning experience and skillset. If you can cut it in banking for a few years, chances are you can cut it just about anywhere else. As a guy who didn't major in finance/economics, it was like getting paid to do a second undergrad.

Forming genuine friendships with the team. I still get drinks with a certain VP and a Director whenever we're all in the same area code. I'm in an active group chat with my former analysts and associates who have all since moved on to bigger & better things, and we've agreed to try to trade business and get each other paid down the line. Provided your team doesn't suck, you'll have lots of fun/memorable little moments together. I remember being in the office 4 years ago with the guys, beers in hand and watching the election results come in on one screen and gold on the other after we'd taken some long positions as a punt - it was like watching playoff hockey. Sounds mundane, but I look back on small shared moments like that quite fondly. 

Actually seeing a deal you've poured countless hours into close, and the ensuing closing dinners / events.. these can be fun as hell, as long as you're not "the story" of the night (i.e. don't be the junior projectiling into the street outside an hour in, or the analyst repeatedly visiting the bathroom and coming out with baking soda on his lapels, or the guy who very publicly hops in his car after contributing his fair share to the $10,000 drinks bill, or the senior who takes the secretary to a hotel after the dinner, and so on...). 

I always liked getting deal toys / tombstones. Each one invariably had some story associated with it from some shit hitting the fan during the deal process: the deal where a guy conveniently came down with a "serious illness" and got out of a board seat and liquidated stock; the deal where chairman brought his pompous son to the boardroom negotiations where he participated; the deal where our MD's counterparty - the banker, not the firm - was mysteriously dropped from all emails midway through (fired), etc.

Each of my Directors/MDs had their own personal favorite bottle in their office that they'd pour a few fingers from whenever a deal closed or we had some other reason to celebrate. The first time I got invited into one of these little celebratory drinks sessions was pretty cool and I felt like a bigshot. I got gifted a bottle of scotch for Xmas one year by an MD - Still sits in my liquor cabinet today. It's a super peaty scotch and it offends most people who try it, but its the thought that counts right?

Sneaking down the street to grab drinks at fucking 3pm in the middle of a super slow summer day... and running into your director at the bar, who orders the next four rounds for the group and picks up the tab. It was supposed to be the "safe" bar where the seniors / clients never go... which turned out to be exactly why he was there. Became a bit of a habit on slow days.

Having sports on the TVs in the office on slow days or during the playoffs. Learned that sports gambling was pretty common at the senior level... made games a bit more entertaining.

Inbounds from recruiters. It still makes me feel validated on some level to have recruiters reach out, sometimes for roles that I'm clearly not gonna get. This happens in many other fields too, but only in banking do you start getting repeated, high quality inbounds barely a year into your career. My current role came from one such recruiter inbound - for a role I never in a million years thought I'd get.

Somebody else said it in the thread, maybe cynically, but realizing that your analyst years are the bottom.. and that it gets better. Life can be real fucking hard as a junior banker. Everybody at my firm has some horror story about sleeping under their desk or cancelling paid vacations with their highschool friends/GFs/Families last minute, but we bond over the stories and share them with a laugh, knowing we all got through some form of the same career hazing and are better for it.

One final thought re: WSO's negative bias.. in my experience, people will vent far more readily than they will brag. You don't hear about your buddies girlfriend doing something super sweet, your moms boss being understanding, or your little brother having a good day at school. You hear about the fight the girlfriend started "over nothing", the boss keeping mom late for no reason, or the teacher being an asshole and assigning little bro too much homework. I'm this way - I don't tell the boys or my girlfriend about every good thing that happens at work.. but I bitch and moan about pretty much all of the bad 'cause its cathartic. 

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Ind
Oct 27, 2020 - 6:10pm

Great post - everyone says step back and see but it can definitely be hard when going through it. My first month I lost it but woke up the next day and thought "I have nothing to lose, take what I can and don't worry about mistakes" and life has gotten a lot better. At 4am when turning comments I think I'll have slow day on Friday or I'm that much closer to buying my dad a Rolex (he always wanted one). You said it, this is the bottom and life only gets easier day by day. And I literally mean day by day cause you get faster and  with more experience = more opportunities 

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