Unless you work for Goldman Sachs, you may not see any of its employees in the gym. After all, the firm has its own private facilities with more machines than most car production lines. However, if you are in a gym and you see someone in their early 20s with their phone propped up so that they can see the screen at all times, that person might be from GS.
So suggests Madeline Henry, a former analyst in the investment banking division (IBD) at Goldman Sachs in New York, who's just written a novel* about leaving banking to practice yoga.
Henry says the novel is partly autobiographical, but not entirely. When she was in banking, for example, she didn't have an affair with her boss, meditate in the office toilet, or enter and win a yoga championship. Henry, who left Goldman for a buy-side job with Ziff Capital Partners after less than 15 months, says she didn't start yoga until she left banking.
"While I was in banking I didn't have time for hobbies," says Henry. "It was only when I moved to the buy-side that I had free time."
However, Henry denies that banking careers can make their young practitioners unhealthy. "As you become more comfortable as an analyst or an associate, you tend to go to the gym more," she says.
Henry says the standard time for junior bankers to hit the gym is while they wait for comments from senior bankers on the pitchbooks they've put together. However, this can be problematic because once senior bankers make comments, they expect immediate action. "You see a lot of analysts who go to the gym and kind of prop up their phones on the treadmill," says Henry. When comments come in, their workout is at an end.
Not everyone has time to get on the treadmill. Henry says one colleague would simply have a sauna. "She called it the executive," says Henry. "I don't know why."
*Henry's novel, Breathe In, Cash Out is being published next week.
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