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Day in the Life: Investment Banking Analyst at UBS

by Derek Loosvelt

7:15 a.m.  Wake up and go for a run before getting ready for work -- you know you won’t have time to go to the fancy gym you joined if you wait for a break later in the day.

9:15 a.m.  Leave for work. You’re technically supposed to be there by 9 but tend to roll into the office between 9:30 and 9:45 on days you don’t have any urgent morning deliverables. Call mom and dad while walking to work. From your apartment it’s a 20-minute walk, which is the perfect amount of time to assure mom you’re okay and not on the edge of a nervous breakdown when she grumbles about what time you left the office last night.

9:30 a.m.  Eat a bowl of cereal at your desk while responding to the emails you received while you were sleeping the night before. You notice that you received an important email that your inbox filters accidentally moved to a folder that doesn’t appear on your Blackberry. Luckily, you stayed late last night to complete the LBO analysis you were working on and you’re able to respond to the email right away.

10:00 a.m.  Meet with your deal team in your MD’s office to talk about the book you’re working on for tomorrow’s meeting. Your MD is leaving for the airport at 4:00 a.m. to speak to the CFO of a company you’re advising on a buy-side M&A transaction. You receive a heavy mark-up, which you know will take you all day to complete. Luckily, one of the two pitches you were also working on for tomorrow was rescheduled for next week.

11:00 a.m.  Email your friend who works at the bank across the street to cancel your lunch plans. The two of you have literally been trying to get together for the past four months but despite the fact that you work so close your schedules never seem to coincide.

11:05 a.m.  Begin working on the mark-up. Re-run the DCF you’ve been showing for the past three weeks using completely new assumptions, which changes just about every page in the presentation. Re-paste every page in the book. Incorporate text comments from everyone on the team and add a few pages to the presentation showing the target’s performance relative to its peers over the course of the past 12 months.

1:00 p.m.  Run downstairs to the cafeteria with some of the other analysts in your group.

1:05 p.m.  Run to the sandwich shop across the street because you’re getting tired of the cafeteria’s weekly rotations. Get your sandwich to go so you can eat at your desk while you continue working on the changes you received this morning.

2:00 p.m.  Your associate on tomorrow’s pitch (the refinancing one that didn’t get cancelled) shoots you an email asking you to set up a dial-in for your team to discuss a new analysis to be included in the pitch materials. After trying to coordinate everyone’s calendars you finally set up the call for 7:00 p.m. as that’s the only time everyone is available to talk. Your associate asks you to begin the analysis in the meantime so we have something to discuss on the call, despite the fact that he doesn’t fully understand what the analysis is, and neither do you.

3:00 p.m.  After attempting the pitch analysis you resume work on the M&A meeting materials. After all, a live deal takes priority, and at least you know what you’re doing on that one. Complete the analysis and send to your associate and VP for review.

4:15 p.m.  Despite the fact that your MD was okay with keeping the stock prices in the M&A book updated as of last Friday, your associate now wants everything updated as of today’s market close since you haven’t printed the book yet anyway. Re-re-paste everything in the book.

5:00 p.m.  Circulate the book for what you hope will be the last time so you can get the final version to print.

5:15 p.m.  Receive an email from your MD saying he’s on his way to a dinner but will take a look at the book when he gets home. Since you finally have a brief window until your 7:00 p.m. call, you update your comps for the companies that released earnings yesterday and browse The New York Times and Wall Street Journal online to see what’s going on in the world.

6:00 p.m.  Order dinner via Seamless Web. You would like to order with the other analysts in your group so you can have a “family dinner” in the conference room, but you have your 7:00 p.m. call so you know you will have to miss it tonight.

6:55 p.m.  Your VP emails you asking if you can push the call back to 8:00 p.m. as he just realized he has another call to be on at 7:00 p.m. You know it’s going to be a late one since you won’t be able to start the refinancing analysis until after the call ends.

8:00 p.m.   Get on the phone and discuss the pitch materials with your team. You finally catch a break and your MD says the Leveraged Finance team will be taking care of the majority of the analysis. All you have to do is put together an industry overview section (you’ve done plenty of them in the past), which you can work on until you receive comments from the MD on the M&A deal.

11:00 p.m.  Your MD has finally returned from his dinner and just now sends you his comments for the M&A meeting via email. He’s concerned as to why all the numbers in the book have changed since the last time he looked, and you explain that you’ve updated the stock prices for today’s close. He asks you to change them back to last Friday’s prices since the client is comfortable with those numbers and he doesn’t want the client to question anything. Re-re-re-paste everything in the book.

12:00 a.m.  Circulate the book for the last time to get your MD’s final sign-off. While you’re waiting for his “okay,” you shoot the industry section for the refinancing pitch to the Lev Fin analyst for inclusion in her latest version of those materials.

1:30 a.m.  Finally receive confirmation that you can send the M&A books to print. After doing so you head to the conference room to watch some TV while you wait for the books. There are still quite a few people on your floor and it’s better to hang out in there since you can actually close your eyes for a bit if you want to.

3:00 a.m.  Books are finally printed. After you flip through them to make sure there are no print errors or missing pages you shoot your MD an email saying you’re on your way to deliver the books to his apartment, as he is leaving for the airport in an hour and you don’t want him to worry about the books not making it.

3:05 a.m.  Hop in a cab outside your building and ask the driver to take you to your MD’s apartment on the other side of town.

3:30 a.m.  Return to your apartment building. Say “goodnight” to your doorman who gently reminds you, once again, that it is actually “good morning.”