The Myth of the 100-Hour Week

Hi all,

I am a first-year Analyst at one of those, wants to be a BB but isn't but also is not quite a MM either firms. Anyway, I have just gotten done my first 5 months and I cannot for the life of me understand where this myth of 100 hour weeks came from. Sure things get terribly busy sometimes and once in a while you will see someone pull such a week but people genuinely feel bad for that person and senior folk will go out of their way to thank them for putting in the effort. I never see anyone working those hours consistently. Even working 80 hours per week is exhausting and is a fairly busy week.

Yet everytime anyone talks about investment banking during college you always hear "are you ready for 80-100 hour weeks?" Why are we perpetuating this myth to each other if we all know it isn't the case? It is extremely annoying to me because I feel as though all it does is cause new analysts to force themselves to stay in the office for projects they don't necessarily need to be spending that much time on just to meet some prior expectation of their work-life. Further, it only deters good people from entering the business altogether who, if told the truth that they would really be working an average of about 70 hours per week, would have loved the job.

Is this all just for some perverse sense of pride? Please be honest in your responses as to the cause of this phenomenon. I know that we have all pulled something like a 100 hour week but can we stop pretending that we do it all the time.

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Comments (82)

Dec 26, 2018

Have you thought maybe its just your bank? Do you have friends at other banks?

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Dec 26, 2018

Feels like you're at a decent group. Friend a Moelis (lol) got destroyed weekly 80-100 hours a week

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Dec 26, 2018

Huge difference between 80 and 100.

Dec 26, 2018

"Not a BB, but not quite MM" uh so RBC? Have never heard of any other bank that openly aspires to be a BB (ex. Boutiques don't)

Senior people give a shit about you? That's a new one.

Consider yourself lucky, some groups and banks have higher expectations for Face-time than your shop does, thus treating junior talent as expendable resources or a depreciable, living asset.

    • 1
Dec 26, 2018

Wells Fargo lol

Dayman?

    • 1
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Dec 26, 2018

RBC also came to mind for me.

Work hard, work clean, & most of all do not give up.

Dec 27, 2018
high hopes:

"Not a BB, but not quite MM" uh so RBC? Have never heard of any other bank that openly aspires to be a BB

He's a five month analyst... probably doesn't have the strategic vision of the executives in mind yet

Jan 14, 2019

Pretty sure even students who got passed to first round wirh RBC would know that about the bank. It's like one of their most obvious traits.

Jan 15, 2019

Found the RBC analyst

Jan 17, 2019

I am actually not haha but I've done their interview. Got rejected after being put on hold for 2 months and went on to get an offer from a BB ... feelz bad

Jan 17, 2019
returntoforever:

I am actually not haha but I've done their interview. Got rejected after being put on hold for 2 months and went on to get an offer from another BB ... feelz bad

Fixed it for you.

Dec 26, 2018

The truth is that working hours vary by bank, and even by groups within banks. Congratulations, you got lucky on your group placement.

Dec 26, 2018

70 hours is still ass dude. That's 9am-11pm Monday thru Friday, or alternatively, 9am-9pm Monday thru Friday + 11am-9pm Sunday.

The worst part is the unpredictable nature and near-immediate deadlines. The most I've worked in AM (vs what I did in my very brief stint in IB) was maybe 65 hours per week; I average 50 hrs/week. That's 9am-7pm Mon-Fri, and it's very consistent. There're rarely an immediate deadline, so when I get a project on Mon, it's generally not due end of day, but often just by Friday or next Monday. Which is great because when a friend wants to grab dinner on a Wednesday or I want to go to a happy hour, I can peace out, and leave maybe at 6pm that day and stay till 8pm the next day. Control over the schedule is critical.

This is opposed to IB where at least 60% of the plans I made just blew up due to idiotic requests by MDs who know jack shit about the company and just read industry slides to impress clients while praying to be let in on a deal. Not saying AM is the only path here, HF and PE are, on average, much better with regards to work-life balance as well (there will be some long weeks, of course). Corp Fin, VC, pretty much all have some solid work/life balance and comp trajectories on average

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Dec 26, 2018

This guy quit IB cause he couldn't handle the hours and now he's at a sleepy life insurance company where his pay progression slowed dramatically. He's constantly on here touting how great his work life balance is in AM in order to justify the decision he made.

The fact is some people would rather grind it out in IB. You're rewarded for sticking around for two years with much better exit ops than managing high yield bonds at PIMCO

Edit: Just FYI to everyone in this thread, look at @AFJ9 post history. He always comes on threads to backup the @therealgekko meaning that afj9 is gekko's alt account. If you look at AFJ9 further, you'll see that he / gekko is considering a move to RBC's energy group in nyc in order to get better access to the hedge fund world LOLOLOLLLO

Fuckin my way thru nyc one chick at a time

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Most Helpful
Dec 26, 2018

And you're a kid who hasn't even held his first job yet and worships IB without knowing anything about it, so you have nothing to contribute to this conversation. Let me ask you, would you take seriously the advice of a guy who had never weight-lifted as to how eventually reach a 3-plate bench? Lmao, and no, I'm not complaining about six-figure comp with potential for 7 figures in less than a decade working 50 hours/week (realize this flex is a bit douchy, but eh, I'm only human).

IB has great exit opps; when have I ever debated that? But if you know you love AM/HF world, a stint as a research associate at T. Rowe Price or Royce & Associates will far better prepare you, as you're performing the job function itself instead of a path to get to the job function you want. Not everyone will A, know if that's what they want, or B, be able to get there post-undergrad without doing a stint in IB. That's fine. But I do think it's valuable to have kids realize that there is more than the one path to get there with the insane levels of herd mentality. As someone who went to one of these target schools, even coming in knowing I wanted to get into equity investing, I pretty much got swept along with the herd for such a long time; just want to let other students know of the possibilities.

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Dec 26, 2018

Lol all you do in here is flex. If your job was so great you wouldn't have to come on here and constantly tout it as the best thing since sliced bread

Fuckin my way thru nyc one chick at a time

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Jan 2, 2019

You accuse him of flexing and your name is literally "EliteStudent"

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Dec 26, 2018
therealgekko:

Let me ask you, would you take seriously the advice of a guy who had never weight-lifted as to how eventually reach a 3-plate bench?

When dudes start speaking in these types of euphemisms you know they 100% lossed the argument. You're a confirmed Edward Jones tier cuck who didn't have the chutzpah to make it in IB so now you work 50 hours a week slinging annuities telling everyone about that one guy in the office that claims to make a million dollars a year. YOU are not what people have in mind when they speak of IB exit opps. You are not Baupost or Third point. You are not Blackstone or Apallo. You're like the Real Estate cucks that tell people they work in Private Equity.

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Dec 26, 2018

Lol it was pretty valid metaphor. Are you an IB cuck? "Mom, I thought IB would get me girls!!! Can you tell me I'm a special boy again?"

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Dec 26, 2018

Nope, did a BB SA stint and accepted an offer for a renowned buy-side firm. Total comp well in excess of 100K. I know I'm not special for my job. This kid just goes from thread to thread and literally every post is about how he works for some average asset manager and it's so much better than everyone elses job. I troll sometimes but he's serious and sucks more than me.

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Dec 26, 2018

"Sucks more than me?" How insecure are you really? You call people cucks and try to attack them personally when they've done nothing to you, and don't address the opposing argument in any remotely meaningful way. As a guy who hasn't had a single full time job, you come across in a pretty stupid way. Why would anyone take advice from a guy who has no experience? Regardless, I'm done trying to engage with an undergraduate who thinks he knows everything about life. Good luck with that

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Dec 26, 2018

I'm not trying to engage you. I'm letting you know your shtick sucks and we all hate it.

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Dec 26, 2018

Judging by the 30+ monkey shits you have on this thread alone, and that you're net negative 5 bananas, I'd say it's quite the opposite

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Dec 27, 2018

Difference is I (will) work on the actual buy-side. Ya know, the one people refer to when they speak of exit opps. As in Apollo, Silver Lake, etc.

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Funniest
Dec 27, 2018

Well in that case I guess he 'lossed' the argument

Dec 27, 2018

He did, Big League. He got absolutely schlonged.

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Dec 31, 2018

HarvardBoy you seem to have an unhealthy obsession with the word cuck. I would seek help.

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Jan 3, 2019

A) It's a friggin hysterical insult and the stupidity of the demographic that typically uses the word as an insult only adds to the levity of it.

B) It's my go to category on adult sites. Can't get enough of it. Doc assures me its healthy though, bigger fish to fry on that front. Carpe Diem!

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Jan 11, 2019

Harvard Boy,

Listen kid, we all get it you're motivated to get into IB, but your attitude and lack of humility are going to be your downfall. Finance is a very diverse career field, and there are many avenues to be successful within it. If you used basic situational awareness, you would notice the people who see you in a Negative light arent rookies within the industry, and you probably won't get close to their level 2 years out of undergrad. Ay, but what do I know I'm just a student vet who can give a fuck less about "prestige," and rather work for Blackwater(when they were Blackwater)than Blackstone.

Sincerely,
Some asshole who just wants to Hoodrat shit with his friends.

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Jan 11, 2019

Lmao I personally know Erik Prince and have been to the estate many times.

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Dec 31, 2018

you just roasted the shit out of therealgekko for no reason lmao, am I the only one that finds this kind of funny

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Jan 3, 2019

I mean I thought it was worth of a SB or two but then again I only come on hear when Im high af to win arguments and take clean W's.

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Jan 11, 2019

Threw 2 out of a grand total of 2 of my silver bananas at you LOL

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Jan 11, 2019

That was some funny af troll

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Jan 13, 2019

Just FYI to everyone in this thread, look at @AFJ9 post history. He always comes on threads to backup the @therealgekko meaning that afj9 his gekko's alt account. If you look at AFJ9 further, you'll see that he / gekko is considering a move to RBC's energy group in nyc in order to get better access to the hedge fund world LOLOLOLLLO

Fuckin my way thru nyc one chick at a time

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Jan 14, 2019

It's even funnier that he used his gekko account to shit on RBC while considered joining RBC's energy team using the afj account LOL. Probably this dude doesn't even pass the resume round.

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Dec 26, 2018

any validity you had with your statement (which you had for sure) was gone the minute you started acting like an immature 19 yr old moron. Could you have not made your point in a more polite cerebral manner?

Ty

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Dec 27, 2018

Lol this "Harvard boy" dropping the ball on his spelling..."Lossed" the Argument... "Apallo"... If this spelling stuff is tough for you, it's going to be a long road dude...

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Jan 2, 2019

Lol - read his other "Rolex" thread. This guy is a total loser.

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Jan 11, 2019

"lossed" - lost
"Apallo" - Apollo
please fix

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Jan 18, 2019

Its Apollo.

Dec 26, 2018

Not a chance in hell you break 7 figures in 10 years working 50 hours a week... how delusional are you? The top .1% of income earners at 27-31 are making $300k, the top .1% of 32-36 year olds are making 580k. You only see the top .1% income earners break 1 million a year at age 42-46!!

And you think you'll crack a million a year by 30?! What a joke - that would put you in nearly the top .001% income earners of your age - that won't be you working 50 hours a week - I can guarantee it.

Source - https://www.financialsamurai.com/the-top-1-percent...
https://fguvenendotcom.files.wordpress.com/2014/04...

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Dec 26, 2018

lol really? Just read any of BlackHat's posts, or look at archived posts here on WSO regarding AM comp trajectory at a good firm. The trajectory is roughly banking comp now, analyst comp in 3-4 years is 300k-500k all in, and senior analyst all in comp another 4 years from that point is 600k-1.5mm+. This isn't even accounting for profit-sharing agreements, which can vault this comp up several multiples over time. My sr. analyst has confirmed these numbers at our firm during comp discussions, and I've spoken with several others at different firms who were generous enough to explain the comp trajectory as well as lifestyle. And yes, pretty much everyone at my firm works mostly 50 hr weeks with some 60 hr weeks when closing an i-case. Lmao just because it seems amazing and you haven't heard of it doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Why do you think industry turnover in AM is so extraordinarily low?

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Dec 26, 2018

Yeah breaking 7 figures by 30-32 working 50-60 hrs a week is definitely possible in the HF/AM world, that's exactly why it's so sought after

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Dec 26, 2018

//

Dec 31, 2018

But isn't there a degree of bullshit in this muddying of the waters between AM and HF? This attempt to act like it's all the buy side, when in reality one is way more sought after?

Someone who works for Vanguard or State Street isn't in the same league as someone who works for Third Point or Baupost. But the Vanguard person will often talk about "the buy side" like it's all the same career. Kind of like the Cornell kids who have to keep reminding everyone they go to an Ivy League school. Everyone groups themselves in a tier that they're at the bottom of.

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Dec 31, 2018

//

Dec 31, 2018

So does the janitor at Vanguard.

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Dec 31, 2018

//

Dec 31, 2018

Work life balance only matters to a point. If we're comparing, say, IBD to Corp Dev then there's a trade off of work-life balance vs. money vs. whatever else factors into that comparison. It's an actual choice between the two career routes, so work life balance matters.

But if we're comparing Vanguard to any remotely legit HF, it's silly in my opinion to say the Vanguard guy has a better work life balance. It may or may not be true, but it sure AF doesn't matter because nobody chooses Vanguard between those two. Sorry.

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Jan 1, 2019

//

Jan 1, 2019

Well that's a strong reaction. I didn't say anything about women or state schools, and barely said anything about money.

The elitist isn't the HF guy making lots of $. The elitist is the guy at Northwestern Mutual who is so insecure that he needs everyone else to know that his job is good enough. "I have work life balance!" He's the one who cares about status and making sure he measures up.

This isn't about looking down on anyone, it's about understanding that the careers are different. True investing is a passion for some people, and they need to understand that a large % of the "asset management" jobs won't address that passion. Anyone who describes Vanguard and Third Point as being in the same industry is doing a disservice to anyone who might be misled by that.

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Jan 1, 2019

//

Jan 1, 2019

I actually love them. They make low cost index funds that save on fees for everyday folks. What they don't make is investment careers.

You seem kind of obsessed with wives.

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Jan 1, 2019

//

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Jan 3, 2019

Bro you're so on point with this. Vanguard and their crappy 40% below market pay.
Take a look at Vanguard's turnover rate. Overall shit company for employees.
Utter nonsense to compare Vanguard to Hedge Funds. Apple to Oranges in my opinion.

thots and prayers

Dec 26, 2018
HarvardBoy:

You're literally a troll

And you have a photo of Martin Shkreli as your avatar - pot, meet kettle. Plus, you use "cuck", which almost certainly means you've got some really deep-seated insecurities about your masculinity (matches up very well with your lionizing IB).

Dec 26, 2018

I dont work in IB moron. I did a SA stint at a rock-solid group (bullish) and accepted an offer a few months ago for a diesel PE fund with great brand recognition.

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Dec 26, 2018

Good for you, but still doesn't address your insecurity about your masculinity, and why you get so defensive about it that you feel the need to insult people personally. First you insult me, and then another poster just because they disagree with you? And neither one called you a 'cuck' or a 'moron' as you have them. Why do you feel the need to lash out at people like this? It destroys your credibility or any chance that people want to engage with you. But I doubt you'll actually listen to this, and will probably perceive this is some kind of insult to you and lash out again, so forget it, I'm done with this conversation

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Jan 11, 2019

Most people who use the word cuck as an insult, probably don't have anything really going on for them.

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Dec 26, 2018

Whats wrong with being an HY manager at PIMCO? That sounds a lot more interesting than being an IB analyst/associate by a long shot. Whats the reasoning here?

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Jan 14, 2019

PIMCO is actually in the process of acquiring a firm I am interested in applying for here on the West Coast, speak of the devil.

Oh, to the kids who talk about IB and potentials, get over yourselves. Prestige is meaningless since there will be always someone who will be more richer than you are. My friends left IBD after 3-5 year stint for better hours. It just kills you over time.

No pain no game.

Jan 16, 2019

"More Richer" - "Richer"
pls fix

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Dec 26, 2018

Some places are sweatshops, the places you describe (wants to be a bb but to big to be a mm) sound like the RBC, Wells, Nomura, Mizuho, etc. of the world and those banks have way better hours than a lot of the lean elite botiques like Laz and Moelis. BB hours are somewhere in the middle. I know because I actually worked at one (as a SA).

In general people do inflate IB hours. Average where I was (JPM/MS/GS) was ~9:00am - ~11:00pm and then 5 - 10 hours of weekend work. Crunch time can get into the red zone easily if that's you're base, but nobody wants/expects you to be in the office past 1:00am if it's avoidable.

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Dec 26, 2018

I guess that I am better off than I may realize at my firm due to what you described. But even you are admitting that people inflate hours. No one at my firm works more than 80 hours per week consistently without looking for a solution to the problem. I just don't think people step back and think about what they are saying when they claim to work 100 hours per week. That would be 9am-11pm every single day. Who could survive like that?

Dec 26, 2018

Deleted.

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Dec 27, 2018

I know you're getting MS for everything else on this thread but regarding the breakdown of UMM-BB-EB hours, this is pretty accurate from what I know. Poor kids at EB's get crushed compared to everyone else. Also people do inflate IB hours. I do it sometimes, people like to make it out to be a badge or honor or something.

However, idk how people at a top BB didn't expect you to be in the office after 1am. I'm at a boutique firm (national, but not elite) and I stay past 1 relatively often during crunch times.

Dayman?

Dec 26, 2018

RBC nice

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Dec 26, 2018

My hours are garbage and consistently over 80 with no opportunities for time off, so there's a counter anecdote to your anecdote. Both are equally meaningless to draw a conclusion from. See how that works?

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Dec 26, 2018

Some groups actually make you work 80-90 hours per week on average. Granted this probably isn't the majority, the issue here still is that when you have worked +100 hours for 3 weeks straight to close a deal followed by light staffing bringing your hours down to 65 hours per week, the "70 hours on average" doesn't sound reflective of your worse weeks. I mean, an average of 65 and 100 is 82.5, and time-weighted ~80 probably sounds right. Also, 80-100 average hours can also depend on how you define the time period, like your league table.

But if you have never had a +80 hour week in IB... either wait till it comes or consider yourself lucky. For most people, their highest records are probably at +120.

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Dec 26, 2018

115 is my record

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Dec 26, 2018

I do think the "average 100 hour week" can be the case for some groups, and definitely not the norm for other groups.

My record for a 7-day stretch (not necessarily a calendar week) is roughly 100 hours, with average being around 70 and multiple weeks in the 50s range when things were slow (mostly when I first hit the desk and summer was ending, and in the weeks leading up to the holiday break). I've had 3 nights in a row where I was leaving at 5am, and multiple days where I left at 5-6pm with some of the analysts/associates and got drinks. For reference, one of the top groups at my BB.

That being said, we also are not representative of the broader bank as we're known to have the best work-life across the groups and I know some of my friends in other sweatshop groups have been getting absolutely worked, easily 100 hour weeks multiple times a month.

I think the takeaway here is not EVERY group will be 100 hour weeks, just really comes down to whether the seniors/staffer are considerate of work/life balance or if they treat juniors like replaceable cogs.

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Dec 27, 2018

You've been working five months at one bank and you're out here acting like you know about everyone's hours. Just because you're in a group with better hours or weak deal flow over the last half year, doesn't mean anything about the broader industry or other banks/groups.

I'm an A2A and I've worked at three banks (EB & Two BBs) and I can absolutely say that there are plenty of 100 hr weeks out there. I spent an entire half-year averaging near 100. It fucking sucks. People should know that since the industry is brutal and unforgiving at a lot of shops.

You're protecting the industry right now and justifying yourself because you just started and you're excited. Don't worry, once it breaks you down and spits you out, this phase will end too and you'll be back here like the rest of us jaded folks talking about how brutal banking is.

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Jan 17, 2019

Are you US or UK? How many days of holiday did you have a year on average? Thanks

Dec 27, 2018

3 years in mid-tier BB banking including a stint in M&A. I probably worked 5 or 6 ~100 hour weeks with the worst being 112 hours. I had good colleagues and managers, so I was shielded from the worst of it. Typical week was probably 80 hours in the first couple of years, but there were some long periods of downtime due to internal reshuffling, the rolling off period, and overstaffing. Alternating between being crushed and being bored to tears isn't that compelling a lifestyle either. Many people regularly put in 100 hour weeks, but they are in the minority at most places. I think 80 was average at my bank with some people accomplishing much more in that time than others.

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Jan 17, 2019

How does the 80 hour week look like in terms of your schedule? When are you normally working / in the office? Weekends?

Jan 4, 2019

I completely agree with this statement. 100 hour weeks are incredibly brutal and should be a rarity, not the norm. If they are the norm, you are doing something wrong.

There is also massive inflation on the hours people "report", and I've also found that the junior bankers most focused on the # of hours worked tend to be inefficient during the day and then stay up all night.

For reference, I started as an analyst nearly a decade ago and have gone straight up the ladder, all working in NYC M&A in a big and highly active group.

Jan 11, 2019
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