If you can sustain a relationship during the early years as a junior in investment banking, then well done. It's not easy, but a surprising number of people achieve it. It just takes commitment - and the right kind of partner.
"If you're both working in M&A, it's a bit difficult," says an associate at one of the hard-driving boutique M&A firms in London. "You might not have time to see each other. What works much better is one person in M&A and the other in something like ECM, DCM or private wealth management."
Not all jobs in banking involve crazy hours. If you work in technology, you might get away with a 48-hour working week, but in front office banking jobs, particularly M&A, the long hours can take a toll on relationships.
"I hear my analysts complaining constantly that they can only manage one date a week," says a JPMorgan VP in London. "And none of those dates sticks around."
Most junior bankers are using dating apps like Tinder and Hinge, but many also struggle with the people they meet there. "When you're an analyst or an associate, you have no time, and you can't commit to anything," says one senior VP at a U.S. bank. "You really need to be with someone who understands that."
Where do you find that type person? Not necessarily on Tinder, but not really at work either, although it does happen. "It's a very male dominated-industry, and you never really want to approach someone in the office," says one VP, before rattling off a counterexample of a French colleague who met his wife in the elevator. If couples do form at work, he says it's usually when people work together and then start a relationship after one has left to work elsewhere.
The ideal, though, is for junior bankers to find someone who understands their schedule but who doesn't have an equally busy schedule themselves. This means people from ECM and DCM, but it also means people working in tangential industries. "I've always dated lawyers," recommends one VP.
The longer your career in banking, the greater the likelihood that your Valentine's Day sentiments will be reciprocated. "Up to associate level, I'd say that around 70% of people are single, but then you get more and more couples," observes one senior associate. "Around 90% of MDs are married and in long term relationships," he adds.
Anecdotally, however, the ideal partner for a senior banker isn't necessarily the same as the ideal partner for a junior. "A lot of the MDs here have wives that do something creative," says the associate. "Something like interior design."
Photo by Cosmo Wei on Unsplash
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