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Meet the tool that may actually improve the work-life of junior bankers

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Sure, they may be posturing a bit for a little PR love, but banks have been making concerted efforts to improve the work-life balance of its junior staffers. The initiatives have been met with minor applause mixed with a heavy dose of cynicism.

One report published earlier this year by Fox Business said that basically nothing has changed, and that the hours are equally as brutal. They are just spread out more across the workweek.

But in recent months, banks have bulked up their hiring plans, allocating more bodies to each project. J.P. Morgan and Bank of America have signaled that they’re hiring more junior bankers this time around, with BofA pledging to increase this year’s class by as much as 40%.

How those hiring initiatives will affect the lives of analysts and associates is yet to be seen. Those plans surely have more to do with need than want. Activity in M&A and equity capital markets is red-hot. And there’s also the fact that cost-conscious banks are letting go more expensive senior bankers for cheaper junior versions.

But there now may be a new hope on the horizon – one that doesn’t rely on lukewarm promises but on efficiency. A bunch of money just got pumped into a startup called Thinknum, a platform designed by two former financial analysts with junior bankers in mind.

With Thinknum, analysts can share and collaborate on cloud-based financial models, rather just sending Excel spreadsheets back and forth, according to Dealbook. It also can pull data from the Web, eliminating much of the mindless time-consuming work that comes with building valuations.

The platform already has 3,000 users, mostly at small hedge funds, but the company just received another $1 million in funding. Likely we are still pretty far away from cloud-based platforms being ubiquitous on Wall Street – and Thinknum clearly won’t turn investment banking into a 9-5 job – but we can dream, can’t we?

Editor’s Note: I’ll be off for the next two weeks (doing that whole marriage/honeymoon thing) but will be leaving Morning Coffee in the capable hands of our contributor, Ed Silverstein. Talk to you again soon – Beecher

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Buzz Around the Office

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