A Day in the Life: Analyst, Investment Banking, Hong Kong
8:45 a.m.: While in the cab, check through all new mail in the Blackberry ("How did the business run before Blackberries?") Upon entering cubicle/office, check to see if voice mail light is on. If it's Monday, pray it's not on, because that means you didn't check it over the weekend and someone might have had work for you to do and wants it in an hour from now (or worse, wanted it yesterday).
9:00 a.m.: Get hot coffee downstairs at Pacific Coffee or wait for Chinese tea lady; you'll need it to wake up. Look around the office to spot a fellow analyst or two who did not go home last night. Usually you can pick them out very quickly.
9:10 a.m.: Blackberry rings with e-mail alerts. Receive a bunch of transaction announcements from all over the world, as well as some newsletter relevant to your industry/group sent out by another analyst to everyone.
9:15 a.m.: The office/floor is officially running, phones begin ringing and the workday starts. Greet the office assistants or office ladies (sometimes called "OLs").
9:20 a.m.: After waiting for five minutes for slow network to load, find your files and continue on research/model - whatever you didn't finish the night before because you knew you still had this morning.
9:30 a.m.: Phone rings. You know what director/associate is going to say so right off the bat you say, "I'm almost done." Then in between a lot of "OKs" you curse your computer for being so slow. There is a scheduled conference call with New York on another deal at the same time so you mute the call and continue with the model. You hope they don't ask you any questions.
10:00 a.m.: Conference call with deal team, which may include people from other product and industry groups who work in conjunction on a project with you. Managing director is likely to read over material that you were 90 percent responsible for - but only your associate and director know this. Pray nothing's wrong with numbers and grammar.
11:10 a.m.: Take a walk to the desktop publishing department to look through finished slides for three pitchbooks that are in production. After leaving final remarks put together a few public information books ("PIBs"), work on a pitch book or still try to balance your model.
12:30 p.m.: You're really hungry but you must print out some files for your associate/director before you leave, so nobody will come around looking for you when they need the printouts. E-mail only if they ask for it. They'll forget it's there anyway.
12:45 p.m.: Lunch at the local noodle shop or pick up a sandwich and coffee downstairs at Starbucks Always take your cell phone with you.
1:45 p.m.: Return to work and hope nobody cared that you were gone for an hour. Hope the firm is truly "European" and understands your need for long lunches.
2:00 p.m.: Sit down with associate to talk about some preliminary research he needs you to pull from all kinds of sources. He tells you a few other things and goes off. Take notes so as not to forget a single thing. Best excuse later: "I only did what you told me to." This works only if you really did exactly that. Wait for desktop publishing department to turn around a job you revised with the director's changes.
3:00 p.m.: New business coming in through another managing director. Your task is to fill out the first in a long series of forms that will be submitted to one committee after another for review. Essentially, every form looks the same and involves a "company overview." If this is a form for a credit approval committee for a "risky" company, be prepared to write 75 to 100 pages worth of memo, the contents of which are virtually identical with the company's annual report. But, it has to be in your bank's format, so you can't just pass along the annual report. You will agonize over the outline and dig through countless sources to extract information and dump it, re-formatted, into your growing file.
6:30 p.m.: Order dinner. At your bank, any dinner ordered before this time is not eligible for refund. Adjust stomach and eating habits accordingly from day one, or suffer irritability and lack of concentration going forward. Everyone asks you to put it on your corporate Amex card. Make sure you have enough on your personal bank balance to pay the full amount when the bill is due later, since your refund through the ubiquitous firm expense system will take a month to process. Run around with list of who wants what -- don't make suggestions, don't write down the wrong thing, and get on with it.
7:45 p.m.: Eat dinner, chat with other analysts about what's up. Take great interest in rumors, gossip and all kinds of BS that would get you fired if you spoke about it outside the conference room you're all huddled in.
8:35 p.m.: Return to work. Call up internal library for some research you don't have access to and hope someone's still there, or it will be a tight morning tomorrow.
10:00 p.m.: The associate you're working with leaves, giving you a couple more things to do on way out. "Take your time, no rush," he assures and thanks you for the good job you've been doing in advance. You appreciate his gratitude but would also like to go home at some point.
11:00 p.m.: Discounted cash flow model inputs take a long time and the model still doesn't balance. It will be a long night. Hope there are no new requests coming in via Blackberry.
2:00 a.m.: You check your e-mail one more time (in fact, you never close it in the first place, as this is the first rule of survival for anyone in investment banking), then you make sure everything is saved, and log out the computer. Call a car and get some sleep.
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