In my opinion, one of the most interesting areas of financial field is investment banking. As an investment banker your work is to help individuals, corporates or governments raise capital in the stock market or even act as an agent who takes care of the issuance of securities. Nevertheless, like every job, also being an investment banker has its downsides.
This area of finance is known from many Wall street- themed movies and it might seem very glamorous and all. Nevertheless, as you read stories about the stressful life of investment bankers, burn-outs and even severe health issues, it doesn’t feel so glorious anymore. Working for an investment bank can be very hectic and stressing so it requires a certain kind of a personality. To succeed in this working environment you don’t only have to be very hard-working but also have a lot of understanding of finance. Obviously, investment bankers need to be ambitious in order to survive in the cruel world and also to move forward on their careers.
I guess this kind of determined working always demands some kind of strong motivator. In this case it’s most likely the money. Big salaries and the luxurious lifestyle might be the reason why the field of investment banking fascinates but is it really worth it? Investopedia sums it up pretty well: “Investment bankers are generally very well-paid individuals, but these positions require specific skills – number-crunching ability, excellent verbal and written communication skills, and the capacity to work very long hours. “ (Investment Banker, Investopedia.com) The common question “Can money buy happiness?” crosses my mind, especially if you might not have time to buy things, given the 100-hour working weeks.
Of course many people enjoy challenges and it’s commonly known that a certain level of stress is absolutely normal and necessary for the development. However, competition is hard in the world of banking, which drives the bankers to work inhuman hours in order to succeed. All the stress bankers are undergoing can be dangerous, not only for their mental health, but also for physical health. A minimal free time causes lack of sleep, exercising and proper eating for instance. Those are certainly not the key to a long and healthy life.
Someone with that hectic lifestyle may also have problems with keeping in touch with family and friends. Obviously it’s not as black and white as that. Probably all the investment bankers in the world aren’t all miserable and stressed. Furthermore, some people want consciously to dedicate their lives to their jobs and being great at what they do. Just remember that under that glorious cover there can be a whole different reality, as the former banker Stephen Ridley tells: “The only models were Excel models, the only bottles were Coca Cola, which I drank a lot of to stay awake”. (Banking Burnouts Blow Away Myths of Wall Street Glamour, 2012, Bloomberg.com)