While most banks have made an effort to impose a “hard stop” on junior employees’ working hours, especially at weekends, Morgan Stanley hasn’t. At Morgan Stanley, employees are expected to negotiate their own working hours – and to work weekends as required. This could explain why one junior from Morgan Stanley’s investment banking division just jumped to a tech firm where staff have a reputation for working 12 to 13 hour days, and weekends.
George Robson left Morgan Stanley for fintech start-up Revolut last month. He spent 16 months at Morgan Stanley, working on the UK and Ireland coverage team, and joined Revolut’s premium product team. Started by former Credit Suisse and Lehman trader Nikolay Storonsky in 2015, Revolut began as a pre-paid FX card that allows people to link to an app where they can buy and hold currencies. It’s since expanded into business accounts, loans, mobile phone insurance, loyalty points and a subscription “premium” feature.
Revolut is credited with being one of the fastest growing fintech firms around (whilst burning through millions in investors’ money). However, the firm is also known for its heavy grind. While banks (Morgan Stanley excepted) try attracting juniors with gentler working schedules, Revolut is unapologetic about its expectations of its employees.
“We are not about long hours — we are about getting sh*t done,” Storonsky told Business Insider last month. “If people have this mentality, they work long hours because they want it.” In the same way that ex-Goldman associate Alexandra Michel conducted research revealing that junior bankers damage their health through overwork entirely voluntarily, so Storonsky said Revolut employees embrace the hard work culture. “They’re really motivated, really sharing the vision of where we want to go and as a result, they work long hours — they work at least 12, 13 hours a day. All the key people, all the core team. A lot of people also work on weekends.”
Revolut’s reputation doesn’t seem to have dissuaded Robson from joining. Nor does it appear to have been a turn off for the other 183 staff listed as working for Revolut on LinkedIn, many of whom have been hired in the past six months and whose numbers include former IBD juniors at banks like J.P. Morgan or RBC Capital Markets. Eight reviewers have given the firm an average five stars as an employer on Glassdoor and one claims the long hours are, “worth it.”
Storonsky’s sell for Revolut is reminiscent of a bootcamp. “We are trying to attract people who want to grow themselves,” he told Business Insider, “Growing is always through pain. It’s the same as going to the gym. You need to train and you need to hit your limit — and then you grow.” Maybe banks need to pitch themselves differently to young people now?
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