Stress in Investment Banking

By Dheeraj Veludandi. Edited by Arjun Chandrasekar.


The salary that investment banking(IB) offers is one of the only reasons people take up this career path. But, IB is also notorious for the stress levels that are brought upon with this job. A survey conducted showed that analysts at Goldman Sachs worked 95 hours every week with only 5 hours of sleep per day. The respondents said this drained their mental health and their personal life was nonexistent. So the real question is: is investment banking really worth the struggle? 

The Lifestyle

The survey conducted on 13 first-year analysts indicated that they claimed to be in a dark place and that their physical and mental health was nowhere near healthy and stable. They said they witnessed and have been victims of abuse in the workplace, and they all considered therapy due to the stress as well. The respondents stated that the deadlines were unrealistic and even when they complained to corporate managers, they were simply ignored. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, IB analysts work more hours than the average American. The pandemic has made the situation worse and far more stressful for first-year analysts. In the office, getting help is convenient and easy, but at home, it is much more difficult and questions are often left unanswered. In an office, analysts would be designated to finish existing work after the manager left the workplace at night without being assigned more, but this is not the case due to the online environment. 

Ways to Reduce Stress

The popular downsides to stress include high blood pressure, fatigue, depression, and heart diseases. Handling this stress as an investment banker is vital in order to continue in this field. One method is clearing your head and rebooting your mind. You can do this by focusing on one body part and nothing else. This allows you to forget everything around you and refresh your thoughts as a way to ‘reboot.’ You can comfortably do this stress-relieving method anywhere but it may be better to do it in a private setting. 

Another main reason that analysts face stress is due to managers yelling out tasks or even yelling at you for something you haven’t done simply out of corporate culture. The best way to avoid these scenarios is to help them and humanize them. They might have issues in their personal life or even in the office and helping them overcome them will save you and other analysts a whole lot of unnecessary stress. Parent-child arguments are very common in IB where the manager is the parent and the analyst is the child. If you ever find yourself in a conflict with a manager, try to be patient and mature like an adult which will leave the manager no other choice than to respond back the same way. In case of a bad start to a day such as a deal that has fallen, you can recollect old and good memories or even achievements that will keep you uplifted and motivated through rough times. This will boost your confidence and it will not let one failure bring you down in your career. 


Investment banking may be the right fit for some people and a horrible fit for others. You have to determine your personal priorities, both in work and life, and see if they align with what investment banking offers. In the long run, the hours in investment banking will drastically reduce as the salary definitively increases. But is a couple of years of stress in order to advance in the IB hierarchy worth it? Well, that’s up to you! 

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