/What Junior Investment Bankers Are Really Thinking, in Their Own Words – Business Insider

What Junior Investment Bankers Are Really Thinking, in Their Own Words – Business Insider


  • In recent weeks, the struggles of junior talent on Wall Street have come to light.
  • Now junior bankers from firms like Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse are speaking out.
  • We asked five current and former analysts to tell us what was going on inside their firms.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Wall Street is a picture of growing discontent among junior staffers.

In response to mounting accounts of burnout throughout junior levels, banks and private-equity firms have begun to elbow one another in a crush to offer young talent the most desirable perks and steer them away from defecting.  You can get the latest on what firms such as Goldman Sachs, Apollo Global Management, and Credit Suisse are doing here.

“This is something that our leadership team and I take very seriously,” Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon said in a voice message sent to staffers on Sunday, responding to complaints from junior bankers.

Credit Suisse, meanwhile, announced special bonuses and salary increases for junior and midlevel employees, saying it “recognizes and wants to reward the efforts” of its junior bankers.

Insider interviewed five current and recently departed analysts in investment banking to get the perspective of junior bankers during the early years of their careers. All these bankers spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak freely about their experiences. Their identities are known to Insider.

Analysts are the most junior employees within an investment bank, typically straight out of college. The first- or second-year employees handle the behind-the-scenes work that goes into getting deals done, such as fine-tuning pitch decks and running models on prospective transactions. 

Just one of the five analysts interviewed by Insider said they had felt a sense of camaraderie among their team over the past year. Most said working from home had led to them working harder than ever and taken a toll on their physical and mental well-being.

We asked these five bankers to describe their lives over the past year and how they were different from what they experienced before the pandemic. Here is a selection of their comments.

Comments from analysts were edited for length and clarity.


’95 hours a week, that’s nothing special.’

“I’m working on a deal right now where some of my coworkers in the bank worked last night until 5:30 a.m. Ninety-five hours a week, that’s nothing special. For the most part, everyone’s working those hours.”

“Nine a.m. to 6 p.m. is when you’re on calls. During the day is when your MD’s are actually around. That’s the time of day when there are senior people involved in the equation.”

“Some of our managing directors — these guys are 55, 60 years old — they’ve never once tried to use Microsoft Excel in their lives. They have no idea how long any of this takes.”

“At the nighttime, when all the MDs log off and go spend time with their families, that’s when the materials get moved forward, when people move forward the memos and the presentations and all of the things that aid the calls for the next day or the days to come.”

“When people are staying up until 3, 4 a.m., that’s because they’re engaged in these client-type activities during the day, and then at night is when they can actually do their work. You start doing your work at night, and if you have a meeting the next day at 9 a.m., you start working on this presentation at 7 p.m. the night before. So you’re going to bed at 4 a.m. It’s math.”

“It’s just the perfect recipe where there’s no way for people to know how much people are working, and every bank has this fake Saturday policy where you can’t work on Saturdays.”

“I think three, four months from now, everyone will be back in the office, and this will no longer be a thing. This is a weird seventh- or eighth-inning occurrence. But I don’t how much there is to be done when people will just be going back into the office fairly soon, and then we’ll see how things change.”

— Current Credit Suisse investment-banking analyst in the US


Goldman CEO David Solomon ‘makes us feel rather replaceable’

“It was really the beginning of November, December, and up until now that the amount of work has really increased as we’ve lost quite a few second-year analysts to PE recruiting.”

“And then in January, we lost a ton of associates because that’s when they receive their bonuses. For the past two months, I think everyone at the firm, and particularly in my group, has been extremely stretched.”

“I have it easier than some of my other colleagues. I know one of my close friends and associates who quite literally sleeps three hours a night and has resorted to taking the ADHD medication Adderall.”

“With the recent news story that broke in Bloomberg about David Solomon — I think some of his comments were very hypocritical. A bank cannot have its best quarter and best year yet without extra work, so the insinuation that we are being lazy when he knows full well that everyone is extremely stretched is a bit insulting to a lot of people.”

“He clearly has an opportunity to keep a lot of very talented people — but he makes us feel rather replaceable and doesn’t really reward hard work. It doesn’t create an environment where I feel like I want to stay at the firm.”

— Current Goldman Sachs investment-banking analyst in the US


‘It seemed like it was just so important that we doubled our interactions with clients’

“I think as soon as we went to work from home, it seemed like it was just so important that we doubled our interactions with clients, but we were already up to that point working really late and really hard.”

“Our hours definitely increased. Personally, before the pandemic, I slept in the office more than once trying to meet deadlines for teams. That is supposed to be something that gets flagged in the system, no matter how late in the night you have to leave, even if just for a little. I just couldn’t go home for multiple days, and no one ever said anything to me.”

“I would shower in the gym, walk across the street to Marshalls, buy a new shirt, and come back.”

“If you’re the analyst on the team, it’s pretty lean, and you just feel really isolated and really alone, and it’s hard to gauge if anyone else is even feeling how you are. I would probably start working at 9 a.m. and end working at 3 a.m.”

“Now that I’m out of there, I feel like there’s just so much I can do with my life. I’m still in a financial space, so I’m not working 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., but I’m also not tethered to a computer and to my phone and jumpy when it rings and able to have a type of separation that is much healthier.”

“I feel much better. And, I think, even when I see my family and friends whom I didn’t really see, they’re like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is night and day.'”

— Former Goldman Sachs investment-banking analyst in the US who left during the pandemic


‘Even when you have time off, you don’t actually have time off’

“When I first hit the desk early on before the pandemic, I got staffed at 5 p.m. on the first day with a pretty big client.”

“I remember, the first night, I was at the office until 5 a.m. I was there until 5 a.m. for three months after that, every single night.”

“At this point, my associate had gone on vacation, and I was literally alone. I had a VP who was, I think, setting alarms every half hour to wake up throughout the night and ask me what was going on.”

“I left Goldman for a few reasons. I think the No. 1 reason is because I was extremely, extremely unhappy.”

“I think that’s due to several factors. I entered the job a very mentally stable, post-college grad, and I left it with a ton of anxiety.”

“With this role, you’re always on call.”

“Even when you have time off, you don’t actually have time off. The pressure is just always feeling like I was never able to really put my phone down and take a nap and not have to worry about something coming up.”

“I had nights where it was Saturday night, and I was getting ready with friends. Something would come up, and I’d be grabbing someone’s laptop like, ‘I need to log in.’ You’re always on call, and never being able to have that peace of mind is very grueling.”

— Former Goldman Sachs investment-banking analyst in the US who left during the pandemic


‘On average, you’re getting done around 11 p.m. at night, which is totally normal’

“I probably wake up around 7:30 a.m.”

“I take like 30 to 45 minutes every night or every morning, depending on what my schedule looks like, to work out. My apartment has a gym, so I’ll just run downstairs and get a quick workout in.”

“I probably log in around 8:30 a.m., 8:45 a.m., catch up on email. Usually I’ll have a call around 9:10 a.m., hop on a couple internal check-in calls or live-deal calls. By then, you have a good idea of what needs to get done in the afternoon.”

“On average, you’re getting done around 11 p.m. at night, which is totally normal.”

“As an analyst, you want to be in the office, and you miss that camaraderie and it’s so much easier to just hop over to someone’s desk to see how something is done, but we’re constantly communicating back and forth.”

“The associates are always reaching out and making sure that you have a good idea of what you’re doing, and they’re happy to help if you’re spinning your wheels for a little bit.”

— Current investment-banking analyst at BMO Capital Markets in the US

Are you a young professional on Wall Street feeling burned out after a year of remote work? Contact this reporter at ralexander@insider.com or on Signal at 561-247-5758.

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