BALANCING YOUR LIFE - Executive Lessons for Work, Family and Self © World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd.
http://www.worldscibooks.com/business/7192.html Charles Nelson: A Week in the Life of an Investment Banking Intern Charles Nelson A Week in the Life of an Investment Banking Intern b746_Ch-04.indd 1 7/2/2009 9:46:48 AM BALANCING YOUR LIFE - Executive Lessons for Work, Family and Self © World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd.
http://www.worldscibooks.com/business/7192.html b746_Ch-04.indd 2 7/2/2009 9:46:51 AM BALANCING YOUR LIFE - Executive Lessons for Work, Family and Self © World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd.
http://www.worldscibooks.com/business/7192.html 61 People often look at investment banking as a glamorous career which involves traveling around the world coordinating mega deals. What many people do not see are the sacriG ces that investment banking professionals are forced to make every day in order to follow this career path. The time and energy required to be successful in investment banking severely alters a person 9s ability to have a passion for any activity beyond work.
He or she also often G nds him or her self a stranger to both their spouse and children. They become consumed by the deal orientation of the business which stresses victory at every turn, and often forget to stop ... more. less.
and enjoy the G ner things that life has to offer. This leads to the burn-out that so many investment banking professionals experience.<br><br> The stress and lack of balance in their lives eventually destroys them. However, the job is not without its rewards. The prestige and compensation of an investment banking job are what lures many young professionals to the busi- ness.<br><br> The Wall Street G rms pay almost double the average MBA salary in the G rst year out of school. The money does not come without lofty expectations as many G rst year associates will often work 90 to 100 hours a week. In this essay, I will G rst make some observations on the recruiting process for investment banks, and then I 9ll outline a typical week for an investment banking associate based upon my experiences at a Wall Street G rm during the summer of 1995.<br><br> I hope you 9ll G nd this interesting and/or helpful. Recruiting Interviews The competition for investment banking interviews on campus is G erce as many people are lured to the small number of interview slots. Students with previ- ous investment banking experience are always invited to interviews with most of the banks, while those with no industry experience normally use their bid points to get on an interview list.<br><br> Interviews for investment banking jobs are notoriously difG cult. Due to the aggressive nature of the business, the interviewer often puts the candidate in an uncomfortable position from the start. They believe this to be the easiest way The stress and lack of bal- ance in their lives eventually destroys them.<br><br> b746_Ch-04.indd 3 7/2/2009 9:46:51 AM BALANCING YOUR LIFE - Executive Lessons for Work, Family and Self © World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd.<br><br> http://www.worldscibooks.com/business/7192.html Charles 62 to gauge how the potential employee will react in tough situations. While this demeanor often confuses and angers many candidates, I believe that it is some- what effective at what it is trying to accomplish. While some interviewers want the candidate to cower in fear, others would prefer if the candidate took a stand against their aggressive behavior.<br><br> For this reason, I have found that, as much as possible, a person must be oneself in the interview. This will most likely result in the best outcome for both the bank and the individual. If a candidate is lucky enough to make it past the G rst round, you will often be called in the next day to be interviewed by new people.<br><br> These interviewers are often senior to the interviewers from the day before. The protocol for this interview will be the same as the day before. Finally, they will choose the G nalists from your school and you will then com- pete against students from all schools for a G nite number of jobs in the next year 9s associate class.<br><br> This process is often held on a Saturday and will consist of seven to nine half-hour interviews. This is a grueling process, but I believe it gives the can- didate a good opportunity to meet their future colleagues and let them determine if this is a place where they really want to work. Often times, the offer is made that day, and if you accept, you are now an investment banker.<br><br> A Typical Work Week My experience this past summer (1995) was in San Francisco, California, in the technology group of a major Wall Street G rm. We were experiencing one of the hottest initial public offering markets in history. As always, the ofG ce had more work than could be done by the allocated staff.<br><br> Therefore, we probably worked even longer hours than one expects for the investment banking industry. The fol- lowing is a chronology of events over a one-week period. It could be any week as they all seemed to pretty much parallel the one which I have described.<br><br> Thursday 2:00 pm: 400 pages of data providing details of the market for systems integration service providers have just arrived. I am learning all I can about an industry that I did not know existed before Tuesday. I must complete a 40-page book that analyzes the industry 9s competitors, clients and proprietary technology b746_Ch-04.indd 4 7/2/2009 9:46:51 AM BALANCING YOUR LIFE - Executive Lessons for Work, Family and Self © World Scientific Publishing Co.<br><br> Pte. Ltd. http://www.worldscibooks.com/business/7192.html Nelson 63 for a customer looking to make an acquisition.<br><br> That is the way things go around here; lots of information and work must be processed in very little time. 2:30 pm: A principal of the G rm comes in and tells me that I have been assigned to work on the X corporation follow-on stock offering. The ofG ce is severely under- staffed, and I hardly have any time to get my current projects G nished, but that doesn 9t matter be cause everyone else is just as busy as I am.<br><br> A dry eraser board on the wall keeps track of the deals that each analyst and associate are working on, and there are several projects under each person 9s name. I am currently the least swamped, if there is such a thing, and that is why the project has been given to me. He tells me that the organizational meeting will be on Monday at 8 am in San Francisco.<br><br> I begin to think once again of the business which I had been working on before, but my mind keeps wandering to the new task that has been thrust upon me. I real- ize that I had better G nish my acquisition proposal before Saturday because the weekend will be G lled preparing for the X corporation meeting on Monday mor- ning. As I sit in front of my computer downloading information, the time passes quickly.<br><br> 9:00 pm: I look out from my cubicle and realize that it is already 9 pm, and the sun has just set. One would not realize this due to the amount of work that con- tinues to occur in the ofG ce. It is just as busy now as it was at 10 am.<br><br> We order c Waiters on Wheels d to deliver dinner at 10 pm. We have become such frequent customers that they know us by name. They deliver my dinner approximately G ve nights a week.<br><br> I eat half of my meal and then lose my appetite while thinking about the amount of work that needs to be done. 11:30 pm: A fellow associate asks for help with a model that she cannot get to work properly. I politely oblige because we all realize that we are in this together and must help each other out.<br><br> 12:45 pm: I put the G nishing touches on her model and return to my cubicle. I have received three voice mails from the Hong Kong ofG ce while I was away. It is daytime there, and they need some information on an upcoming IPO.<br><br> I wonder to myself why I am always here when they call in the middle of the night, but they are never there when I need to talk to them during regular business hours in the United States. Am I the only one working this hard? b746_Ch-04.indd 5 7/2/2009 9:46:52 AM BALANCING YOUR LIFE - Executive Lessons for Work, Family and Self © World Scientific Publishing Co.<br><br> Pte. Ltd. http://www.worldscibooks.com/business/7192.html Charles 64 1:30 am: I completed the e-mail of data across the PaciG c and can G nally get back to work.<br><br> 4:00 am: My computer screen has put me into a daze, and I decide that it is time to go home. On my way to the car, I experience fresh air for the G rst time since coming to work almost 20 hours ago. It is the best that I have felt all day.<br><br> 4:30 am: I get home and play my answering machine. A college friend called to tell me some news, but I doubt that he would appreciate me returning his call now. I sit down on the couch to look at my mail, and I fall asleep instantly.<br><br> Friday 7:00 am: I wake up on the couch and realize that I have not even made it into bed. There is a lot of work to be done today so I get up, shower and leave for the ofG ce. 8:00 am: It seems as if I never left the ofG ce except for the fact that I am wearing a different suit than yesterday.<br><br> I must begin to assemble the data for the X corpo- ration organizational meeting on Monday. I feel that getting a start this morning will make the weekend 9s work easier. A timetable for the offering must be decided upon and approved by both the management of X corporation and our investment bankers.<br><br> 10:00 am: After numerous phone calls, I have been able to retrieve the names of the investment bankers, lawyers, accountants and X corporation executives who will be working on the project. This data has been given to the word processing department, to be formatted for the book. 11:00 am: I receive the preliminary timetable and begin to assemble a detailed schedule of G ling dates and meeting times.<br><br> I continue to think about my acquisi- tion project which I am currently unable to work on. 11:30 am: I begin listening to the 19 voice mail messages that I have received while I have been away from my desk this morning. The messages inform me of On my way to the car, I exper- ience fresh air for the first time since coming to work almost 20 hours ago.<br><br> It is the best that I have felt all day. b746_Ch-04.indd 6 7/2/2009 9:46:52 AM BALANCING YOUR LIFE - Executive Lessons for Work, Family and Self © World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte.<br><br> Ltd. http://www.worldscibooks.com/business/7192.html Nelson 65 additional work that must be completed. It is important to prioritize because the timing of each assignment 9s completion is critical.<br><br> I have three documents that must be updated and faxed to a vice-president who is on the road. I also must update all the market information in a proposal, which was initially prepared for presentation last month, for a Wednesday meeting in New York. 12:15 pm: Starvation is beginning to hinder my productivity as it seems that I have missed breakfast again.<br><br> I eat a sandwich, potato chips, Snapple and cookie at my desk. It is not the lunch of kings, but the feast satisG es me. I am on the phone during the entire meal, making plane reservations for the cred eye d to New York on Tuesday night.<br><br> 3:00 pm: I fax the last document and return to the job of preparing for Monday 9s organiza tional meeting at X corpora- tion. I must read several documents to learn more about X corporation and exactly what they do. 6:00 pm: Word processing returns the docu ments I gave them, and there are only about 10 mistakes.<br><br> This is good for them, but I often wonder if I would not be better off typing my own documents. I circle the mistakes and send it back. This process will be repeated approximately two more times before it is all correct.<br><br> 9:00 pm: I receive a call from the vice presi dent working on the X corporation offering. He just got off the phone with X corporation 9s CFO, and they want to reduce the time until pricing from G ve to three weeks. I must now revise all the schedules and G ling dates that I prepared this morning.<br><br> 12:00 am: I have forgotten about dinner and have G nally returned to my evaluation of acquisition candidates. I work well into the early morning with few distractions except for the custodial staff. Saturday 7:00 am: As the sun comes up, I go home and decide to rest awhile.<br><br> I eat a hearty breakfast, my G rst meal since Friday 9s lunch, and sleep from 8 am until 12 pm. Starvation is beginning to hinder my productivity as it seems that I have missed breakfast again. I eat a sand- wich, potato chips, Snapple and cookie at my desk.<br><br> It is not the lunch of kings, but the feast satisfies me. b746_Ch-04.indd 7 7/2/2009 9:46:52 AM BALANCING YOUR LIFE - Executive Lessons for Work, Family and Self © World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte.<br><br> Ltd. http://www.worldscibooks.com/business/7192.html Charles 66 12:30 pm: I begin revising the proposal that we will be presenting in New York on Wednesday. I must change 10 pages of G nancial information and over half of it is not readily available through our database.<br><br> It will take me a few hours to retrieve and enter the data. 6:00 pm: I think that it is time for dinner, but I don 9t know what happened to lunch. I order a feast from c Waiters on Wheels d, including numerous appetizers and desserts.<br><br> The G rm gives me a $50 allowance for food if I work over six hours on Saturday or Sunday. Lately, it seems as if I have been relegated to ordering food for fun because we have been so busy. 7:00 pm: I continue working on the book for Monday 9s meeting, inserting the standard sections which only require the changing of names and dates.<br><br> It is a mindless task, but there is nobody else to do it. 12:00 am: A draft of the book for Monday 9s meeting is ready. It must be reviewed several times before Monday morning in order to make sure that all errors have been eliminated.<br><br> 1:00 am: I go home and go to bed. I must get some sleep because there is a big week ahead. Sunday 8:00 am: My alarm goes off and I am so tired that my eyes hurt when I open them.<br><br> I feel even worse when I think about the coming week. I go for a jog and enjoy some fresh air for the G rst time in a couple of weeks. It has a soothing effect, but I have to ask myself if there aren 9t some things that I am missing while I spend all that time in the ofG ce.<br><br> 9:30 am: I am back in the ofG ce pre - paring for tomorrow morning 9s meeting. I review an enormous amount of rele- vant material, including 10-Ks, 10-Qs, and their amended S-1 registration statement. My alarm goes off and I am so tired that my eyes hurt when I open them.<br><br> I feel even worse when I think about the com- ing week. I go for a jog and enjoy some fresh air for the first time in a couple of weeks. It has a soothing effect, but I have to ask myself if there aren 9t some things that I am missing while I spend all that time in the office.<br><br> b746_Ch-04.indd 8 7/2/2009 9:46:52 AM BALANCING YOUR LIFE - Executive Lessons for Work, Family and Self © World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd.<br><br> http://www.worldscibooks.com/business/7192.html Nelson 67 12:00 pm: The managing director in charge of our group calls and informs me that the analyst who has been assigned to the X corporation offering will be unable to work on the deal at all. He has just been staffed on something else that has just come up. I realize that I will now be responsible for every mundane detail on this deal; however, this is neither surprising nor unusual considering the workload currently being done by this understaffed ofG ce.<br><br> 2:00 pm: I have the book sent by courier to the vice president 9s house so that he can review it for mistakes or any changes that he would like to make. I then paged our word processing assistant to come in as the material for the acquisition proposal needs to be typed up. 5:00 pm: I am still working with the word processor assistant.<br><br> I am trying to explain my notes and sheets to him, but I just cannot seem to make him under- stand exactly what it is that I want. 6:00 pm: I G nally feel that I can leave him alone for a while to type up a few sections of the proposal. I return to the documents for Wednesday 9s meeting in New York and continue to update the information.<br><br> 8:00 pm: I have set aside one hour to go out to dinner with my girlfriend. I arrive G fteen minutes late to the sushi bar, and she is exasperated as usual. She says that we just pass through the night like two strangers, and that she does not want to live like this any longer.<br><br> 8:45 pm: I was paged by the vice president. I call him, and he screams that the entire timetable is wrong. He says that it must be changed for tomorrow morn- ing.<br><br> Evidently, they changed their mind a second time and did not bother telling me. He says that he is faxing the revised information to the ofG ce now, and he wants me to return there and get to work ASAP. I get back to the table with the bad news.<br><br> I cannot even get away for one hour without my pager going off. I devour a few pieces of sushi and rush back to the ofG ce. It is going to be another long night.<br><br> 2:30 am: The revisions of the book are complete and 30 bound copies of the book are ready for the 8 am meeting. I load them up for the trip to X Corporation tomorrow morning. b746_Ch-04.indd 9 7/2/2009 9:46:53 AM BALANCING YOUR LIFE - Executive Lessons for Work, Family and Self © World Scientific Publishing Co.<br><br> Pte. Ltd. http://www.worldscibooks.com/business/7192.html Charles 68 Monday 5:45 am: I must wake up to get ready for the drive to X Corporation in Alameda.<br><br> I am required to leave prohibitively early just in case any unusual trafG c should delay my trip. 6:30 am: I leave for Alameda. 7:15 am: I arrive at the ofG ces of X Corporation.<br><br> I go to the meeting room and check to make sure that everything is ready for the vice president to run the meeting. 8:00 am: People are trickling in, but it appears that the meeting will not start on time. Unfortunately, I did not have the luxury of coming in late.<br><br> 8:30 am: The meeting begins. In attendance are representatives from three investment banks, one audit G rm, two law G rms, and the senior management of X Corporation. Even though our vice president runs the meeting, the management of X Corporation is clearly in charge.<br><br> They are the customer, and the client. 10:00 am: As the discussion moves to the timeline of the offering, I am struggling to stay awake. I know the timeline inside and out.<br><br> As a matter of fact, I know everything that we are going to cover in this meeting today. I am basically just a csuit. d A person from the G rm who is just there to make the client feel that there are a lot of people working on their deal. My participation in today 9s meeting will be minimal.<br><br> 10:30 am: I duck out of the meeting to answer three pages and check my voice mail. Tuesday 9s meeting with the company looking to make an acquisition, D. Corporation, has changed their meeting from 1 pm to 9 am in San Jose.<br><br> Once again, it appears that I will not get much sleep as I prepare for the proposal. 12:00 pm: We break for lunch, and I go sit in the car and sleep for 30 minutes. These 30 minutes feel like eight hours as I am totally exhausted.<br><br> 1:00 pm: We reconvene and start preliminary due diligence. We will interview each member of the management team and take notes on their discussion of the company and its current situation. 6:00 pm: The due diligence session concludes and we decide to convene again on Thursday at the ofG ces of X Corporation 9s law G rm in Palo Alto.<br><br> b746_Ch-04.indd 10 7/2/2009 9:46:53 AM BALANCING YOUR LIFE - Executive Lessons for Work, Family and Self © World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd.<br><br> http://www.worldscibooks.com/business/7192.html Nelson 69 7:30 pm: I make it back to the ofG ce after stopping on the way home for some dinner. It is now time to put the G nishing touches on the proposals for tomorrow and Wednesday morning in New York. 10:00 pm: The managing director in charge of the D.<br><br> Corporation relationship calls to discuss a few details about tomorrow 9s meeting. He tells me that I need to use my knowledge of the acquisition targets to assist him in the meeting because he will not have time to learn all of the information before then. I decide to review the book another time in an attempt to make myself even more prepared for tomorrow 9s meeting.<br><br> 4:00 am: The revision has continued late into the evening, but I must make sure that everything is ready for tomorrow. I G nally get to bed at 4:30 am. Tuesday 7:45 am: I have overslept, but I should still have enough time to make it to the meeting on time.<br><br> I get up and get dressed. 8:45 am: I arrive at D. Corporation.<br><br> 9:00 am: The meeting begins, and we begin to discuss the current climate for acquisitions. Next, we review potential acquisition targets. I am very involved in the discussion, and I often add information that I have learned in my research but that is not contained in the book.<br><br> My contributions are well-received by both the managing director and the executives at D. Corporation. At that moment, it makes me feel as if all my hard work is worth it.<br><br> 12:15 pm: We decide to continue our dis cussion over lunch. As we end the meet- ing after lunch, I feel as if the prospects for a deal are very good. 2:30 pm: I return to the ofG ce to prepare for my New York trip.<br><br> We are leaving on the red-eye H ight at 9:15 pm, but I still have to complete the analysis for the books. I also G nd that I have accumulated 27 voice-mail messages in the past day and a half. I realize that it will take me at least 30 minutes just to listen to all of them.<br><br> 3:00 pm: As I am still listening to the mes sages, a principal comes in and asks me if I could do him a favor. He needs a couple of modiG cations to a model for a din- ner meeting tonight. I am the only person in the ofG ce, and I oblige even though I really do not have any free time.<br><br> b746_Ch-04.indd 11 7/2/2009 9:46:53 AM BALANCING YOUR LIFE - Executive Lessons for Work, Family and Self © World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd.<br><br> http://www.worldscibooks.com/business/7192.html Charles 70 6:00 pm: I have G nished the model and taken care of most of the messages. I have three and a half hours left to get the books G nished, pack, and get to the airport. I enlist the assistance of an analyst, who has just returned from a meeting outside the ofG ce.<br><br> She helps me complete the books for the trip. 8:00 pm: The books are double-checked because any errors found after we leave cannot be changed. I hope that everything is correct.<br><br> If this business only allo- cated more time and resources to each job, we would not have such worries. 9:30 pm: I barely make the H ight as I arrive when they are doing G nal boarding. I look forward to my G ve hours of sleep in my business class seat.<br><br> Wednesday 5:30 am (EDT): We land in New York 9s JFK airport. We are taken by limousine to the Pierre Hotel to shower and dress for the morning meeting. While the other meeting participants sleep, I call to double-check our H ight back to San Francisco and our limousine pickup.<br><br> 9:00 am: The limousine picks us up for the meeting. 9:30 am: We arrive at the meeting. I feel rested as my G ve hours of sleep last night was my most all week.<br><br> I will not have to worry about falling asleep in this meeting. 12:00 pm: The meeting is over, and we go to our company 9s Wall Street head- quarters to pick up some faxes. The faxes will provide more than enough work for me to do on the H ight home.<br><br> 2:00 pm: We have lunch at the 21 Club. This is one of the perks of the job. After a couple of drinks and a huge lunch, I am ready for a nap on the H ight home.<br><br> 3:30 pm: Our H ight leaves for San Francisco without us on it because we have taken too long at lunch. 5:30 pm: We make the next H ight for San Francisco. Unfortunately, the two hours lost by missing the plane will be costly later in the evening.<br><br> I will have to stay later than I had expected to prepare for an all day due diligence session on Thursday. 9:00 pm (PDT): We arrive in San Francisco, and I go straight to the ofG ce. I G nd 20 voice mail messages and a note asking me to come by N Corporation 9s b746_Ch-04.indd 12 7/2/2009 9:46:53 AM BALANCING YOUR LIFE - Executive Lessons for Work, Family and Self © World Scientific Publishing Co.<br><br> Pte. Ltd. http://www.worldscibooks.com/business/7192.html Nelson 71 closing dinner if I have time.<br><br> N Corporation is a good client and I go directly to the restaurant for the closing dinner. 11:00 pm: I must sift through what appears to be reams of paper to G nd the draft of the preliminary prospectus for tomorrow 9s due diligence session. I will be the only representative of the G rm at the meeting so I must make sure that the prospectus is published in the correct style.<br><br> I must also check for errors and potential lia- bilities contained in the document. 2:00 am: I am not sure what time or what day it is. I only know that I have not slept in a bed in 48 hours.<br><br> I decide to go home because the due diligence session begins at 7:30 am in San Francisco which means I have to get up at 5:45 am. My Career Goals After my summer experience, I took some time to reH ect upon my investment banking job and how it related to both my skill set and my career goals. I needed to decide if it was something that I wanted to pursue full-time when recruiting began in the fall.<br><br> I came to the conclusion that while the work was exhausting, I really enjoyed it. I also found that I missed the exhilaration that came with the narrow deadlines and frequent travel. I have decided to pursue a career in invest- ment banking and will be going to work for a major investment banking G rm in their technology group in San Francisco.<br><br> When matching my skill set with those required for investment banking, I found a pretty good match. Investment banking is very project-oriented which suits me well because I become bored with mundane, repetitive jobs. I consider one of my greatest strengths to be my interpersonal skills, and they are a key factor in the success of invest- ment bankers.<br><br> Lastly, my natural abilities are very quantitative in nature and these are necessary skills, considering a large portion of the workload is G nancial analysis. As for my career goals, I believe that investment banking may fulG ll some of my short-term goals, but it will not be an industry in which I plan to work for my entire I am not sure what time or what day it is. I only know that I have not slept in a bed in 48 hours.<br><br> I decide to go home because the due diligence session begins at 7:30 am in San Francisco which means I have to get up at 5:45 am. b746_Ch-04.indd 13 7/2/2009 9:46:54 AM BALANCING YOUR LIFE - Executive Lessons for Work, Family and Self © World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte.<br><br> Ltd. http://www.worldscibooks.com/business/7192.html Charles 72 life. I am not prepared to make some of the sacriG ces which investment bankers must make concerning their families and their enjoyment of life.<br><br> I have no fear of working hard, but I am also unwilling to let life pass me by as I sit engulfed by my work. My true desire is to have a loving family and to be able to provide for all of their desires. I am not concerned about the monetary desires, but rather that I will always be there for them, something that too many investment bankers cannot be counted on to do.<br><br> Questions for Reflection 1. What surprises you about this story? 2.<br><br> What are the three biggest lessons that jump out at you from this account? 3. How would you chart Mr.<br><br> Nelson 9s Balance Wheel for this week in his life? Physical Intellectual Spiritual Emotional Professional Financial Material Political Familial Marital Parental Social 0 4 6 8 10 2 A Personal Developmental Balance Wheel. b746_Ch-04.indd 14 7/2/2009 9:46:54 AM<br><br>