Investment banking is a career path best known for long hours and big bonuses. The draw of the original “models and bottles” lifestyle drives young analysts to top shops where they work 7-day, 100-hour weeks. While the idea of working longer than 40 might make you want to hang yourself by your necktie already, there is somewhat of a perverse pride that accompanies such a grueling schedule. Bankers that don’t burn out can brag about actually working hard and playing hard, instead of simply rapping about it along with the radio on their morning commute.
While never out of style for those of us in finance, banking has lost some of its luster amongst the best and brightest coming out of college following the recession. Potential young finance bros are choosing the hoodies and sneakers of start up tech companies over the Ferragamo and Hermes of Wall Street, getting similar pay with fewer hours. Add in the recent Bank of America intern dying after supposedly working 72 hours in a row and it is no surprise that investment banks are doing what they can to drum up some positive press.
Goldman Sachs, the bank of banks, has reportedly gathered a task force together to find ways to make life easier on their armies of analysts. While hilariously including a “critical client” caveat that means they can overturn anything at anytime, Goldman bankers have pledged to find ways to cut down on weekend work, shorten the length of pitch books, give more specific work requests, and most importantly, hire more analysts to cover the workload.
If you thought past or present analysts would respond well to that, however, you’re not exactly in tune with Wall Street. Comments on the finance community website WallStreetOasis.com from verified industry professionals have amusingly ranged from disbelief to outright irritation.
“I don’t buy it for a minute… I think college students are relatively easy to mislead. Every year, GS rolls out the same (predictable) “life is getting easier for analysts” marketing campaign. Every year over the past couple, it’s never materialized.” -IlliniProgrammer
“Get ready for the pay cuts.” -Edmundo Braverman
Sarah Butcher of eFinancialCareers broke it down even further, writing, “If they cost $122k each, Goldman’s additional 40 analysts will cost the firm $4.9m. It seems highly likely, therefore, that Goldman’s new analysts will coincide with a reduction in average analyst pay.”
While it could be possible that those who might actually appreciate the gesture, the analysts cranking out 16-hour days, are either too busy or too tired to respond, it is certainly telling how many people within the industry itself decry the gesture as either a PR stunt or actually just hope it is one.
You don’t get into finance to save lives, after all, and if you can’t afford bottle service anymore, are a couple more hours of sleep even worth it?