The Trenches of Investment Banking

The hardest part of switching out of a career in investment banking is knowing whether leaving banking is the right decision. Even though the hours are long and hard it can be tough to give up the comradery of investment banking.

When you take a step back and think about investment banking over the long-term you know your job isn’t as bad as it seems on the day-to-day. But it is the day-to-day grind that people remember and not the  good months.

Working in banking you can expect your hours in December, July and August to take a bit of a dip. If every month working as an analyst could be like December no analyst would ever quit. You work essentially 9-5, you get to attend over the top Christmas parties and you get a bonus. This doesn’t mean you might not have long hours in December, but for 90% of the staff its going to be slow.

When you speak to an analyst it is the war stories of working in the trenches they remember because it is these stories that have defined their careers. In the trenches is where you either make it or don’t. Everyone who ever works in banking will go through a period of time where they work 16 hours everyday for at least a month on end.

These are the months that grind you mentally into wanting to quit. They are also the months in which you learn the most and build the strongest relationships with your colleagues. To become part of the team you need to go through an experience like this as a team.

When you work 100 hours a week for a month with the same group of people and you are able to do a good job you will build relationships forever. When I look back to my strongest relationships from BMO they are with the people that I worked on the most painful projects with.

If investment banking was always fun, all the time you wouldn’t be able to accomplish everything you do. More importantly it is the pain that you go through with your team and character it creates that makes investment banking great.

Investment banking is about working through the trenches together and learning how to accomplish things as a team. Its not the paychecks that I miss from investment banking, it is the team that I would grind with every Friday night till 11pm.

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