Banking vs. Consulting. - McKinsey & Co. or Goldman Sachs?

Investment Banking day to day

Banking Investment / October 23, 2019

“A Day In The Life” is an ongoing series that highlights popular post-MBA job functions, as seen through the eyes of the recent grads in the positions.

What does the typical workday look like for an investment banking associate at a multinational financial services firm? To find out, Bloomberg’s Melanie Danko spoke to Serdj Balach, a graduate of the University of Virginia’s Darden MBA Class of 2010, who holds that position at Citigroup’s headquarters in Manhattan.

Before enrolling at Darden, Balach, 30, was a consultant and analyst at Accenture. He grew up with a strong international background, living in Serbia, Croatia, the Philippines, and Belgium, and he holds an undergraduate degree from Northwestern University. He currently resides on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

Here’s a peek into Balach’s daily routine, in his own words:

7 a.m. I get out of bed and get changed for a quick trip to the gym. I don’t do this enough, but every little bit helps, and fitness bragging rights at the office never hurt. I try to avoid the desire to check my Blackberry, but the blinking red light beckons. Nothing but internal administrative e-mails for now, so I can work out in peace.

7:35 a.m. I finish a quick swim. I would’ve loved to go longer, but sleep and time are my most valuable commodities, and they’re always in conflict. I double-check the Blackberry, and this time there are a few easy-to-answer questions from clients and colleagues. I jot a few quick responses, and start the mental to-do list: Remember to get European team materials they requested by end of day.

7:45 a.m. I shower, shave, and make myself presentable for another day on the job.

8 a.m. I turn on SportsCenter and hope to catch some basketball highlights from the Chicago Bulls. I read a few daily news e-mails on the Blackberry and forward a couple of articles of interest to my director.

8:30 a.m. On the subway ride into the office, I listen to the Pardon the Interruption podcast and flip through more news.

8:50 a.m. Sitting down at my desk, I write down my to-dos for the day:
1) Review drafted [mergers and acquisitions] discussion materials with my managing director.
2) Review valuation materials for transaction.
3) Send requested materials to Europe team.
4) Discuss.

9 a.m. Conference call to discuss [initial public offering] roadshow presentation.

9:30 a.m. Go to the cafeteria and grab oatmeal and much needed coffee.

10 a.m. I sit down with my director and an analyst to review valuation materials for a live transaction.

11 a.m. I review comments with the analyst and attempt to split the work. We realize that neither of us will be able to get to it until at least 4 p.m.

11:30 a.m. I begin thinking about lunch. I wait in front of my managing director’s office for an opportunity to review materials for an M&A pitch later this week.