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A Day in the Life: Investment Banking Sales

Here's a look at a day in the life of a sales associate in the Fixed Income division at Bear Stearns in New York.

6:45 Get to work. ("I try to get in around 6:45. Sometimes it's 7:00.)

6:50 After checking e-mail and voice mail, start looking over The Wall Street Journal. ("I get most of my sales ideas from The Wall Street Journal. I'd say 70 to 75 percent of my ideas. I also read the Economist, Business Week, just for an overview, some Barron's and the Financial Times. Maybe three issues out of the five for the week for FT.")

7:15 Start checking Bloombergs, getting warmed up, going over your ideas and figuring out where things stand.

7:45 Meet with your group in a conference room for a brief meeting to go over stuff. ("We go over the traders' axe [what the traders will focus on that day], go over research, what the market quotes are on a particular issue.")

8:15 Get back to desk, and get ready to start pitching ideas.

9:15 Have a short meeting with your smaller group.

10:00 One of your clients calls to ask about bonds from a particular company. You tell her you'll get right back to her. Walk over to talk to an analyst who covers that company. ("I'm in contact a lot with my analyst. I listen to my analyst.")

10:15 Back on the horn with your client.

12:30 Run out to lunch with another salesperson from your group. ("We often buy each other lunch. Sometimes to celebrate a big deal we'll order in lunch. We usually go to Little Italy Pizza Place, or Cosi's Sandwiches. It's always the same people, and it's always the same six places.")

1:00 Back at your desk, check voice mail. ("If I leave for 30 minutes or so, when I get back, I'll have five messages.)

2:00 One of your clients wants to make a move. ("I trade something every day. Maybe anywhere from one to 10 trades. It's on a rolling basis. You plant seeds, and maybe someday one of them grows into a trade.")

3:15 Another client calls and wants to place an order.

5:30 Still on the phone. ("Although the markets close, that's when you can really take the time to talk about where things are and why you think someone should do something.")

7:30 Head for home, you're meeting a client for a late dinner. ("Often on Thursdays we go out as a group.")