A Day in the Life of a Managing Director Market Risk

In this article, one of Quantnet’s Wall Street Senior Executives describes a typical day in his life as a Managing Director in Market Risk at a bulge bracket investment bank.


06:05 - Wake up, shower, dress
06:10 - Briefly question career choice, think about sleeping in and applying for job at Wal-Mart
06:11 - Recall the great staff and intellectual stimulation job provides, recommit self to career
06:30 - Drive to train station
06:43 - Get on train to NYC
07:30 - Arrive NYC, cab to office
07:40 - Address staffing issue involving zealous junior employee irking bosses, leave message for HR
07:50 - Login, check email, get 1st double short cappucino @ Starbucks, grab two risk quants on the way down to catch up on SCAP
08:00 - Attend career development meeting for risk management junior folk where career planning is discussed
08:30 - Leave meeting early to discuss urgent regulatory issue
08:40 - Grab 4 senior quants and mortgage risk manager to discuss reg issue in more detail
09:00 - Finish assembling VaR data for another regulator, send to compliance
09:15 - Second double short cappucino - this time with two guys who used to work for me (triple gingerbread latte and single vanilla latte, respectively). I pay (as usual), but in a sign of good karma, Starbucks cashier charges me for only the cheapest AND give me two boxes of Christmas Blend VIA packages. I'm a big hitter there.
09:30 - Have informal meeting with Fed staff to discuss Merchant Banking and SCAP
09:45 - Have informal meeting with OCC staff to discuss upcoming exams
10:15 - Catch up with mortgage risk manager on reg issue, go to other building to meet with global head of ops
10:30 - Meet with global head of ops to discuss upcoming reg exams
11:15 - Draft response to Internal Audit about various governance issues
12:00 - Lunch[/b] - grilled flatbread with pepperoni and olives, yum!
12:15 - Draft quick response to MQF students about comparing Fast Fourier seasonals to ARIMA-based seasonals
12:20 - Catch up with Internal Audit on governance
12:30- Try out the Starbucks VIA Christmas blend. Slight bitter aftertaste, but provides necessary additional kick.
13:00 - Look longingly at iPad on Apple site, decide to wait for next version
13:30 - Discuss opening in model review team with head of group, call ex-student to ask him to come in and interview
13:40 - Call wife, express undying love, tell her I'll be home late (again)
13:50 - Informal catch up with head risk quant to discuss staffing
13:55 - Talk to HR on IT budget allocations
14:00 - Dualing mortgage risk meetings
15:00 - Informal meetings with Private Equity, Real Estate, and controllers, gradually working my way down the elevator bank
15:20 - Walk back to office
15:30 - Weekly catch up with risk chief admin: reg issues, limits, expenses
16:00 - Review private equity and real estate risk profile with head of market risk and risk staff
17:00 - Review treasury and global wealth management risk with head of market risk and risk staff
17:45 - Review global limits presentation for management committee with head of market risk
18:15 - Go to corporate gym, work out the kinks
19:00 - Review VaR, sign off, go home

Ken Abbott

Managing Director
I hope you understand (Ken) that I didn't mean to be rude or offensive. I was positively surprised as I thought an MD would work crazy hours like 7am to 10pm...
No offense taken. I've done 7:30 AM - 6:30 PM for years. It's not unusual. Not that I haven't seen 9:00 PM or 10:00PM a few times - I have. I'm also on-call, 27/7. I've put a few weekend hours in and responded to late-night issues as well from home.
How is the productivity during this (long) day?

Not that great to be honest.

The past month I have been working every single day from 8am till 1am, with almost 6 hours of sleep every day... totally knackered. Finally we released the product yesterday...

I know that productivity falls sometimes exponentially, however, even if within 3 hours you got work done worth of 30 mins (when you are rested and under normal productivity), you have already saved these 30 mins from next day...

I guess it works a bit like that... I guess at some point we were doing crazy hours to get this thing delivered without thinking about productivity, error proneness, etc not great I can promise!

I certainly don't enjoy long hours... I can tell you that!