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How Many Hours Do Investment Bankers Work?

How many hours of work per week.

We’ve all heard these nightmarish stories about bankers working 100-hour weeks, sleeping on their desks, and working on Sundays. 

The subject of investment banking infamously long hours has been reignited following the release of a 2021 Working Conditions Survey presentation from Goldman Sachs first-year analysts, complaining about their grueling working conditions (they claimed to work 95 hours per week on average).  

While these extreme circumstances may occur, they are not the norm. The reality is more nuanced. 

The goal of this article is to give you a realistic perspective of how much you can expect to work in investment banking at the beginning of your career

How many hours of work per week you can realistically expect in investment banking?

late work

First, it goes without saying that investment banking is not a 9-to-5 job. Hours in this industry are much longer than in other sectors, for operational reasons we’ll discuss in a minute.

So you can certainly expect to work hard, regardless of the investment banking firm you choose. 

Realistically, investment bankers can work from 60 to 100 hours per week, but working 60 hours is far more common than going above the 90-hour mark. The amount of work depends on the investment banking firm as well as live deal requirements. 

From experience, I can tell you that most interns and first-year analysts at boutiques or larger banks work between 60-80 hours a week most of the time. So the typical average is 70 hours. The only times where you may have to work over 90 hours (and more) are during the peak of a large deal, but this rhythm will rarely last for more than 1-2 weeks. No one can sustain such work intensity over several months. 

Working 70 hours a week means that you can start at 9am, work until 9pm from Monday to Friday, and work about 10 hours on Saturday. In practice, there will generally be days when you’ll be working until 1am or above, followed by days that are slightly less intense. 

It’s definitely a lot of work. But when you are in your early twenties and full of energy, 70 hours on average is something that can be managed, especially if you are genuinely interested in the work you do. People who don’t take at least some degree of pleasure in the nature of the work typically don’t last long in this industry.

Also, it should be noted that these hours, although very intensive, are usually not only spent working. There can be a lot of downtime in investment banking, where analysts are just waiting for further instructions from senior investment bankers. Although analysts are technically at the office (when they’re not working from home), they are not really working during these “downtime” periods.

Why are the hours so tough?

For those of you who never worked in investment banking before, it might be helpful to understand WHY the work hours can be so intense. 

There are several factors that explain this heavy workflow:

  1. Client requests can pop up at unexpected times. Sometimes senior bankers will notify you quite late in the day (can be 7pm or 9pm) that they need a last-minute presentation for a client. When this happens, analysts will often need to grind until late hours to get the work done – effectively prolonging the total time spent at the office. 
  2. Investment banking clients are paying substantial fees for great service and speed of execution. Investment banking is an extremely competitive industry, in which banks have to fight for the biggest clients’ attention. Delivering work fast is a way for investment banks to show to the client that their services can be relied upon, that they are working at full speed on their project. As such, junior investment bankers typically need to work under very tight deadlines (sometimes even near-impossible deadlines), which naturally leads to long hours. 
  3. Cultural tradition. In this industry, long hours are often seen as a “rite of passage” for young bankers. Senior bankers also had to work very hard to rise up to the hierarchy, so there is an in-built cultural expectation that junior bankers should “pay their dues”.

Investment banking long hours: pros and cons

pros and cons


  • Opportunity to learn much faster than in any other field due to the intensity of the work
  • Development of a strong work ethic. Since IB hours are so tough, anybody who can thrive at this rhythm can keep up with pretty much any work environment. 
  • Very strong signal on your CV. An experience in IBD is a demonstration that you’re a hardworking person
  • Hustle mentality can be genuinely enjoyable, especially when you’re getting along with your team. Working until 2am with intelligent people on a very important project can be a tiring yet memorable experience.


  • Lack of sleep is highly likely in some periods
  • Not much of a work-life balance
  • There can be a lot of downtime. Work is sometimes erratic.
  • Can be very stressful, create difficulty to log off during non-work hours

How to know if investment banking is suitable for you?

You can tolerate long hours. If you’re the kind of person who needs 9 hours of sleep and go to bed at 9.30, it is not for you. 

  • You like the adrenaline of working hard within tight deadlines. If working against the clock for a very important project is something that excites you, then you may appreciate the fast-paced, adrenaline-fueled investment banking environment. 
  • You have genuine interest in having an impact on financial markets. If you’re not genuinely interested in the deals you work on and their consequences on financial markets, it’s unlikely that you will be happy to do the job. 
  • You have an appreciation for teamwork and close-knitted camaraderie. You won’t be alone in this “hell”. All you team workers are going through the same work hardship. If you like this feeling of burning the midnight oil with people you respect and like to work with, you can find great satisfaction in investment banking.
If after reading all of this, you still want to work in investment banking, check out this course, which will help you get your foot in the door:

A word about the author

Aurelian Tran is the founder of Alpha Lane and an ex-Goldman Sachs analyst who has spent 4+ years working in the investment banking industry.

He founded Alpha Lane to help students and young professionals achieve their highest professional ambitions, by securing offers at top-tier financial institutions.