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Via Wikimedia Commons by JSquish

Investment banking is not a field one thinks of as “dangerous.” When the word danger comes to mind people tend to think of professions in coal mines, Nuclear Reactors, Navy seals etc. However sitting in the office of Goldman Sachs and working on an IPO does not usually come to mind. It turns out that experts concluded that investment banking is a very dangerous job.

According to the Wall Street Journal (emphasis is ours):

A University of Southern California researcher found insomnia, alcoholism, heart palpitations, eating disorders and an explosive temper in some of the roughly two dozen entry-level investment bankers she shadowed fresh out of business school.

Every individual she observed over a decade developed a stress-related physical or emotional ailment within several years on the job, she says in a study to be published this month.

We noted in a recent article the perils of working in investment banking:

Lets do some math; there are 168 hours in a week. You will be at work 100 hours of that week. You have 68 hours left. That is less than 9.7 hours of sleep assuming you do nothing else, and does not account for work travel time. Imagine doing that for two years and you get a sense of the difficulty.

If you do the math of a salary around $150,000 a year, it is not even that good. You likely will get kicked out after two to three years of training to move into a different division or firm.

This story is not an anomoly. We have heard many horror stories from people who worked in the industry. One story from a former colleague of mine who was a first year i-banker at a big bank everyone heard of.

“My boss looked at my model on Friday at 5PM. He found something wrong and told me to correct it by Monday. I was up until 2AM Saturday morning working on it. I took a break and returned to spend my entire Sunday finishing my model.”

It therefore is not surprising that working in investment banking causes physical and mental problems. The work load does get lighter after a few years, but it is hard to stay sane those first few years. In all seriousness this study shows the brutal nature of working as an investment banker. The study further states:

Some were sleep-deprived, blaming their bodies for preventing them from finishing their work. Others developed allergies and substance addictions. Still others were diagnosed with long-term health conditions such as Crohn’s disease, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis and thyroid disorders.

Diseases like crohn’s are not a laughing matter. However there really is no way to stop this practice because people want these jobs. Additionally it is hard to split up the 100 hour work week between two people. The reason is that i-bankers usually work on complex models, which only one person can work on at a time.

It must also be stated that while many in the media lumps all of Wall Street in one group, not everyone who works on Wall Street works in investment bankers. There are many divisions including; sell-side, asset management, Private wealth management, personal banking etc.

However before one enters a career in investment banking they might want to consider becoming a landmine detactor.