Fewer Perks and More Work for Wall St.’s Summer Interns

Joy Pathak

Swaptionz
http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2011/07/21/fewer-perks-and-more-work-for-wall-st-s-summer-interns/

Wall Street interns have gone from pampered to pummeled.
In better days, college-age interns at the nation’s largest investment banks, known as summer analysts, were treated like young royalty. But shrinking profits and a spate of recent bank layoffs have forced this year’s interns to shoulder full-time workloads.
I worked 85 hours last week!” said one Goldman Sachs summer analyst, a college senior who spoke on the condition of anonymity because she was not allowed to speak to the media.
“The last two days, I’ve been here until 3 a.m.,” said a Deutsche Bank analyst, who also spoke on the condition of anonymity to protect his job. “My weekends are fun, but that’s about it.”
 
The ridiculous hours people work in the big banks really make a person ask, "What's more important to me - a career, or a life?"
 
The ridiculous hours people work in the big banks really make a person ask, "What's more important to me - a career, or a life?"

Well, this is what those interns get for not knowing how to data parse.

And honestly, cry me an F*ing river. To me, "I had to work 85 hours last week!" translates to "I learned for 85 hours last week and showed my dedication!"

I'm also not sure these kids realize what the point of Wall Street is--the entire point of the financial industry is that rather than work from 25 to 67 or 70 or whatever the SS/retirement age for us Gen Y'ers will be (like I care, I intend to get successful before then to not have to depend on entitlements), it's to work your ass off for a good 10-20 years, become out-of-your-mind rich, and then then know that you can sneeze on the cost of your kids' college educations, have a vacation home on both coasts in the U.S., and live a life knowing that the financial plagues that obliterate so many families (*raises hand*) will not be visiting your house if you're not absolutely stupid with what you do with your earnings.

So either suck it up, or take a 9-5 5-figure job for the rest of your days. Because in my case, I'd love to trade places with them.
 
These kids are babies. I worked 85 hours in a factory during a 5 day week on more than enough occasions. I did 24 hours straight when I managed a gas station. SA's typically get overtime also so they are pulling in serious cash.

Don't go into NYC bulge bracket banking if you are not ready to do these kind of hours. Honestly, working interns like normal bankers is the best thing ever. If you last through a summer and come back for more that odds are you will not complain about the hours or work quality.
 

Joy Pathak

Swaptionz
Lol

I am currently working in investment banking at a big bank and work long hours and weekends. But I absolutely love what I do. I mean, they take care of you if you're working long hours. Dinner after 8 and car service to your apartment after 9pm is there and many other perks. I get to work on live deals. It is incredible.

I think any front office job is going to be a lot of hours. Even in S&T the structuring people work long hours. I think only the traders and their front line support(quants,etc) and market risk desk coverage, work shorter hours but those 12 (usually 6 to 6) hours are probably more stressful than the whole week that the bankers work.

If you're in any form of research you are also going to work long hours(12+) probably but maybe a lot of them from home possibly.

If you want short hours, there are several divisions at a bank that can get you that in back end middle office and operations/tech (some tech are on call during nights...so that can be intense sometimes too).
 
Joy, you always like the perks at the beginning. It's not worth it in the long run, mainly because the hours don't necessarily result in High bonus. I have done it for 2 years, learned a lot but was disappointed overall...Just my personal view.
Problem with IB is that it is full of politics and you working hard/on live deals doesn't guarantee anything (it always depends on what the bank overall did, what IB overall did, what you group overall did and how powerful your MD is.
On the other side, if you have your own P&L or if you are part of a team that does (quant desks,...) good work/results generally bring high pay!!
And the days of an 2nd-3rd year Associate making $400-600k a year in IB are long gone...that's what I heard!!
 

Joy Pathak

Swaptionz
Joy, you always like the perks at the beginning. It's not worth it in the long run, mainly because the hours don't necessarily result in High bonus. I have done it for 2 years, learned a lot but was disappointed overall...Just my personal view.
Problem with IB is that it is full of politics and you working hard/on live deals doesn't guarantee anything (it always depends on what the bank overall did, what IB overall did, what you group overall did and how powerful your MD is.
On the other side, if you have your own P&L or if you are part of a team that does (quant desks,...) good work/results generally bring high pay!!
And the days of an 2nd-3rd year Associate making $400-600k a year in IB are long gone...that's what I heard!!

The salary depends on the firm.

Regardless...I am starting on the rates desk in September and am very excited for it.
 
I agree with Alexandre. When after a couple of years your health starts deteriorating because of the crap food you eat 'cause that's all they have in the kitchen down the hall, or you're in too much of a rush to eat a proper meal, and when you start to forget what it feels like to connect with people on a human level, when you start wondering where all the time went and why you don't have a girlfriend, or you have a girlfriend and you wonder how she spends those 12-14 hours a day when you're not there... that's when you start wondering if this is really for you.

no, I haven't experienced these things myself, nor am I judging anyone who enjoys putting in long hours. I'm just saying, these are points any rational, self-aware person would naturally consider.
 
Peter, I agree, but let's remember that all of us are quants-in-training in order to escape this environment.

One of the major perks of being a quant is that you don't have to separate yourself by how many hours you can grind or red bulls you can slam. You separate yourself with short bursts of creative genius. In quant jobs you can spend 5 hours on work that someone else might spend 5 days on; there's a lot more room for variance. I don't think this variance really exists in the ibanking world, which is mostly due to lower intellectual rigor of the work, although it's more arduous and repetitive.

The "I put in 100 hours last week making pitchbooks! :cool:" attitude really annoys me about the whole i-banking culture. It's not about the hours you are at your desk, but the work you do while you're there. What about the quant that only spends 40 hours at work but finds fatal flaws in his boss' trading models which no one else saw? Quality over quantity.
 

Joy Pathak

Swaptionz
Just to save people from the misinformation I should mention... There are several quant groups in Ibanking especially in securitization(most banks have it in the private side). client structuring and credit risk and analytics which employ mostly MFE's and PhD's nowadays.
 

Ken Abbott

Managing Director
Alex Krause: Your reference to "low intellectual rigor" bespeaks a lack of understanding of what bankers do and how hard they work. It's not just pitchbooks and DD roadshows. I cover many bankers from a risk standpoint and their work requires as much "intellectual rigor" as anything else. It's simply more qualitative and less quatitative. Want to see game theory in action? Go into a bidding situation in the private equity space. Optimization? Try competitive pricing in an equity underwriting.
 
Alex Krause: Your reference to "low intellectual rigor" bespeaks a lack of understanding of what bankers do and how hard they work. It's not just pitchbooks and DD roadshows. I cover many bankers from a risk standpoint and their work requires as much "intellectual rigor" as anything else. It's simply more qualitative and less quatitative. Want to see game theory in action? Go into a bidding situation in the private equity space. Optimization? Try competitive pricing in an equity underwriting.
Some groups in IB have more quantitative work, like Securitization, some groups that work the structuring of the deal/assets and CFs structuring.
 
Alex Krause: Your reference to "low intellectual rigor" bespeaks a lack of understanding of what bankers do and how hard they work. It's not just pitchbooks and DD roadshows. I cover many bankers from a risk standpoint and their work requires as much "intellectual rigor" as anything else. It's simply more qualitative and less quatitative. Want to see game theory in action? Go into a bidding situation in the private equity space. Optimization? Try competitive pricing in an equity underwriting.

But would an entry level analyst ever get to see any of this? From my understanding they are doing a lot of redundant work in excel. My post was in reference to someone fresh out of grad school, which I didn't make clear.

Also I didn't say "low", I said "lower" compared to the work of pure quants.
 
Of course IB hours are horrible for the first few years (80-100 hr weeks). But as you advance, the hours do get better. Also the work transitions from menial tasks like editing powerpoint slides to talking to clients. The reason IBD analysts slave away like this is because of the amazing exit opportunities that an IBD analyst stint provides (whether that be private equity, venture capital, hedge fund, etc). If the only thing to look forward to after completing a 2-year analyst program was more of the same boring work and ridiculous hours, then there'd be a lot less people in IBD.
 

DominiConnor

Quant Headhunter
Andy is right that Quant jobs tend not to be like that., and Anthony is right, I've done 50 hour days outside banking.
My wife is a lawyer and that can get pretty time consuming, at one point "our people" made a lunch appointment so we could actually see each other. Hell it's a Sunday, and here I am pimping.

Diet is something you can manage yourself. Bananas are good for this and keep in your desk, but I guess the insanely overdue quant careers guide will need dietary advice as well :)
 
Hell it's a Sunday, and here I am pimping.

I know how you feel, it's Sunday and I'm doing an LMS installation for a company on the West Coast.

Still money + experience = new furniture for the living room, so I can't complain :).
 
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