Is it worth risking an aneurysm (or, more realistically, your hair falling out and your health deteriorating) just to become a top ranked analyst or associate at a top investment bank? A J.P. Morgan associate who spent five years at the bank, progressing from analyst to associate in the investment banking division (IBD), has concluded that it's not. There's no point overdoing it. Take it easy.
The associate, who asked not to be named, based his calculations on the following table of hours and pay for juniors in IBD at J.P. Morgan. The presumption is that every year you stay in IBD you get to work five hours less per week on average and that the juniors who work the longest hours get the biggest bonuses.
Unfortunately, the associate also calculates that putting in extra hours to get a bigger bonus makes no sense. The 15 extra working hours per week which are required to become a top ranked analyst don't result in a proportionate increase in pay. Assuming a 50 week working year, he calculates that you actually end up earning less per hour as an exceptionally hard-working, highly-ranked analyst and associate than as an averagely hard-working, averagely-paid one.
"It makes no sense to go from working 85 hours a week to working 100 hours a week, with all the related destruction in your health and sanity when you barely get paid any extra," says the associate. "It's even less worthwhile when you consider that bonuses are taxed at nearly 50% - why would you work every weekend and sleep four hours a night when the financial incentive is almost nothing, especially when there are no career shortcuts in IBD?"
He adds that the ideal is to become a top-ranked analyst/associate without killing yourself, but that this seems impossible unless you're an "Oxbridge boy" with excellent connections.
J.P. Morgan and other banks do not typically comment on speculative information regarding pay.