Lara Moses

Investment Banking
Mar 7, 2016
From morning meeting with business owners to afternoon meeting with government run entities, an investment banker is someone who wears many hats. A quick calculation here and another one there, it is all about the numbers and raising capital for companies and governments. But it is not as easy as it sound, as investment bankers have a full day of racking their brains trying to make the best decisions for you.

To give you an insiders look into exactly what an investment banker does, and see what their day entailed, here is the full rundown of what a day in the life of this business financial professional entails - no filters, glamorisation or holding back.

7 am - 7 30am: Waking up to call from the office at this hour of the morning seem a bit ridiculous if you ask me, but when you have a status report due at 9am, the office is in full swing by 6. A quick shower and shave, before suiting up and heading out the door. As usual, making a mandatory stop at the local coffee shop is a must before heading into the chaos of what is to become the rest of the day in the office.

7 55 am: My workspace has been taken over by associates who have a million questions about the status report. Having worked till 3 am this morning on the report, I handover my flash drive with the completed report.

8 am - 9 am: After settling into the office, a few sleepy yawns and checking email, the associates of the firm gather in the conference room to discuss the status report. After being handed a marked up version of the report, the team goes back and forth correcting wrongly placed commas and a few grammatical errors. By 8 45am, the report is sent. One meeting down, a handful to go.

A trip back to the comfort of my work space includes another coffee run and making a to-do list for the day. This includes:
  • Review valuation materials for transaction
  • Send requested materials to Europe team
  • Meet with the investment banking team
9am - 10am: With another coffee down, starting with the latter seems like the best idea. The investment bank team meets back in the conference room. Basically the investment banking team tells management like myself about the buyers who are interested in meeting with them. The meeting is then set and the hour long meeting is over.

Before heading back to the office, grabbing a quick bite to eat for breakfast is needed. Oatmeal with another side of coffee will do.

10am - 12 pm: Back at my workspace, I escape into a pile of work including working on a pitch book for an IPO. The final version of the IPO pitch book is then sent to three managing directors who will be at the meeting the next day. Changes will be made by these managing directors which means that everything will be scrapped and re-done within the next 24 hours.

While working on the IPO, an associate drops off revisions to a presentation for another client. I am swamped and explain to him that I’m working on a huge IPO pitch for the next days as well. Unfortunately my workload is not a good enough excuse, so he tells me to finish it by 6 pm so he can review it and make changes, give it back to me to correct edits and hand it in by 9am tomorrow morning.

Realising the magnitude of the amount of work that still needs to be done, there is no way I’ll be home for dinner or even breakfast tomorrow morning.

12 pm - 2pm: Meeting with my director and an analyst to review valuation materials for a live transaction. The director leaves and an attempt is made to split the work between the analyst and I after reviewing the comments.

The analyst and I decide to continue our meeting over lunch and head down to the cafeteria.

2 pm - 3pm: My cell phone rings during lunch and its a managing director who is currently traveling. Urgently needing a Briefing Book, I call up a FedX to see if they can get it 3000 miles away in an two hours. That’s not going to happen, so I resort to plan B - creating a PDF of the entire book. An intern could do this so I quickly give very specific instructions to the closet one to me.

3 05 pm: Another associate gets a phone call from the managing director who received the Briefing Book. He is furious as the file is 100 pages and is taking 30 minutes to print. I keep my head low and avoid any eye contact with anyone in the office. I’ve luckily missed a yelling at. It would be best for me to head out and grab another cup of coffee to avoid all the drama.

3 30 pm - 4 30 pm: I’ve lost count of how many meetings I’ve had today, but know I have another with an equity research analyst and a managing director. After 30 minutes of discussion, the MD wants a recent pitch to be refocus on completely different metrics. For me, this means I need to re-do most of my work, and attempt to fit it into my day before the MD goes home.

4 30 pm - 6 pm: With a presentation due for review in an hour and a half, I work quickly to get it to the associate for changes and review. As the associate approaches my desk I finish the presentation and hand it over. He assures me that it will be back on my desk by 8pm, giving13 hours to correct the edits that have been made.

I need more coffee and maybe a donut. I go downstairs and grab a dozen for everyone in the office. This at least brings a few smiles to everyones faces and even a high five or two. The sugar rush gives me some energy too.

6 pm - 7 pm: Back at my desk, I deal with refocusing the pitch before the managing director heads home. Heading to the managing director’s office, I catch him on the way to the elevator and am able to slip him the revised pitch which he will comment on overnight, and give me a final version in the morning for final edits.

7 pm - 8 pm: Since this is going to be a long night, heading out of the rest of the team for dinner seems like the only time We head to a Vietnamese restaurant within walking distance from the office. It’s my 12th hour of work, and I feel like my day is just beginning. I take a deep breathe and head back into the office.

8 pm - 12 am: An email from someone from Equity Capital Markets which is the team responsible for IPOs. It says that they have got an instruction from the MD to scrap the analysis that he had made and to go with the original IPO. All my handwork of refocusing that OPI has all gone down the drain - that was two hours of sleep that I could have got.

I quickly refocus and get the changes from all three managing editors from the first OPI that I started with today. The changes aren’t too massive and be done by at least 12am. The office starts to empty out, and I go on a quick coffee run at around 11pm to keep us night owls fuelled.

12 am - 1 am: I finish up the IPO and send it to be printed. Exhausted, I put my head down on my desk for a couple of minutes to regroup before heading to oversee the printing process with an associate. Unfortunately there is an inconsistency in the document and have to stop printing. Myself and the associate review the problem, double check everything and correct it.

Printing resumes at 1 46 am.

2 am - 3 am: The printing crew reassure me that everything will be waiting for me at 7 am, and that I should go home and get a few hours rest. They take my cell phone number just incase anything goes wrong.

I pack up and call it a day in the office, but head home to work. Before leaving the office, I grab another cup of filter coffee from the office kitchen.

3am - 4am: I do the final changes and edits on the presentation given to me at 11am before heading to bed. The plan is to then wake up at 6 am, be in the office by 7 am and double check both the presentation and IPO that are both due at 9am.

5 12 am: My cellphone beeps at 5 am with a text message that reads, “Printing complete”. I smile and roll over for another few minutes of sleep.

If you thought being a investment banker was easy, try living through one day of their lives like the one above. Crazy deadline, an insane amount of pressure and loads of coffee is what you can look forward too.


Global Markets
Jan 8, 2016
I have to say I never really understood the people who wanted to go into IB as opposed to global markets. The long hours and tedious spreadsheets and pitchbooks never appealed to me.

I guess the big upside of IB (vs. markets) is that you have better exit opportunities, like going to venture capital or private equity, than if you were a currency trader or a bond salesman.
Feb 3, 2015
@AlexLielacher I think some people are genuinely interested in knowing how the financing of companies, mergers and acquisitions, raising capital and the likes works. Long hours af but if they wouldn't like doing it they would burn out pretty soon anyway. IB is more like a marathon. Trading is a sprint.
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Reactions: AlexLielacher
Mar 7, 2023
Thank you for posting that schedule, definitely eye-opening, especially as I intend to go into IB as an analyst after university. I was wondering though, reflecting on this experience and the stress and work it requires, would you still go into IB as an analyst or pursue "Global markets" or another division with slightly less numerous exit opportunities but a more sustainable work-life?
Mar 7, 2023
I have to say I never really understood the people who wanted to go into IB as opposed to global markets. The long hours and tedious spreadsheets and pitchbooks never appealed to me.

I guess the big upside of IB (vs. markets) is that you have better exit opportunities, like going to venture capital or private equity, than if you were a currency trader or a bond salesman.
What were your thoughts on working in Global Markets?