A Day in the Life of an Investment Banking Director at Baird

Published: Jan 14, 2020

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After slogging away as an analyst and associate, working 93-hour workweeks, making under a measly $247,000 per year, you finally make it to VP. And that's when the big bucks start rolling in. As a vice prez, you spend a few years leaving the office before midnight, lead a few deals, earning your bank some bank, and then what happens?


That's right, bigger bucks, the babes, the folding chair, and one step away from mighty MD land.

And when you do hit director status, in addition to the aforementioned benefits, you can expect a much shorter day in the office—when, that is, you're in the office. As a director, it's likely you'll spend at least a fourth of your time on the road, drumming up b'ness.

But seriously, here is what a 12-hour period might really look like, from home to office.

A Day in the Life of an Investment Banking Director at Baird (in Chicago):

7:30 AM: Wake up and check my phone. Typically I'll have 15 to 20 emails and today's no different. Half are industry-related (one's from MergerMarket, revealing yesterday's announced deals in my industry; another's from our equity capital markets desk, with all the public filings in my industry). Of the other half, five are spam and five I have to respond to. Of those, one is from a European client. It's night there; I spend 15 minutes responding.

8:00 AM: Take the train to the office (I live in the city and take the Brown Line). On the way I read The Wall Street Journal (I usually get about halfway through the first section during my commute).

8:30 AM: Arrive at the office; check email and voicemail. Immediately respond to all the emails I can to respond to quickly—if I don't have to, I don't like to leave them to later. Two emails require a bit of follow-up before I can respond. For one, I need some information from a colleague in Boston. For another, I need to do some research on five potential buyers. After I get what I need, I respond to both.

9:30 AM: Work on my calendar for an industry trade show I have next week. I've been arranging meetings in advance. I put in a good hour emailing people, confirming times and meetings.

10:30 AM: Meeting regarding a pitch we have coming up in three weeks. I'm overseeing the execution of the pitch. I meet with a VP, associate and analyst, and we go over what we'll need to do to get the pitch together. The pitch is a sell-side deal, so we walk through who the potential buyers might be, what we're going to highlight, the valuations we'll need to do, etc. It's more of a discussion than me just giving orders. Everyone participates, not just listens. The potential client is a private company that, in addition to us, is talking to two other banks. The presentation will ultimately be a two-hour sit-down with the firm; we'll be selling Baird as well as presenting our opinion about who'd be the best buyers.

11:30 PM: Networking event/lunch out of the office. The event is about the state of the Canadian M&A market. The reason I attend is because I'm pitching a business based in Canada.

1:30 PM: Back at the office, I check and respond to emails and voicemails. One voicemail is from a client that I need to respond to right away. After that I call two other clients on sell-side deals I have going on, just to check in.

2:30 PM: Flip through a CIM (confidential information memorandum) and mark it up with my edits. The CIM is an 80-page book detailing everything you ever wanted to know about a company. This company is a sell-side client. The junior members of the deal team put together the CIM. It's a first draft that they've given to me to review. I have to read every word and make sure all looks okay.

4:30 PM: Another call with a prospective client. It's a 'how you doing' kind of thing. A half hour, very informal.

5:00 PM: Work on a one page overview of what I'm going to present at the upcoming trade show. It's a marketing handout piece. It just came back from our support team. I mark it up.

6:00 PM: Do some filing with regards to transactions that I closed at the end of 2010.

6:30 PM: Clean up my inbox, sending any last emails I need to send. Create a to-do list for tomorrow and make sure there isn't anything I hadn't done. Realize I need to send an email regarding a conversation I had earlier in the day (about a potential buyer for a firm we're selling). It's a one page email. I craft it and send.

7:30 PM: Leave the office. Back to the Brown Line.