Face Time and Investment Banking 101

In Uncategorized | 7 minutes read

Your internship starts tomorrow!

You are eyeing off a bottle of Patron left over from that awesome EOS party you had.

You are hands-shaky f**king nervous!!

I feel you.

And unlike you I didn’t just eye that bottle of Patron off on the eve of my first banking internship…I hit that sauce like I was coming outta a 10 month betty ford retreat!

But that’s because I had so many questions about my internship and so few answers.

One of the biggest ones I stressed over was FACE TIME.

What did it really mean…how long was I really expected to be around…what happened if I crashed out after 2 days straight???

My head was like a freaking Woody Allen narration!!

I was even more neurotic than Woody himself jacked up on Elvis’ favorite P&J flavored uppers!

So in today’s lesson I’m going to decode the mysteries of face time in banking.

And most importantly, I’ll show you how it applies to interns…and by the same token…first year analysts.


Well, first up Face Time is officially no longer necessary.

Buuuuuut unofficially it’s FUCKING VITAL!  (notice how I didn’t ** that one…that’s how important it is!)

When the MDs are staying past 8pm, there’s no chance you’re checking out before 10/12.

But the real rule on face time is;

  • stay as long as your team, and
  • if you don’t have any deadline work, then VOLUNTEER to help your mentor-analyst or anyone else on the team that has a midnight-run coming up

Said differently, DO NOT leave if young bankers are still tapping away and you haven’t explicitly been told to “go home”.

Since most Excel monkeys will stay late every night, your earliest departure time as an intern is probably 11pm in the bulge bracket world.

Sooo, what is the banks’ new official policy on Face Time?

When it’s past 9, only stay if you’ve got important and urgent work to do.  Otherwise go home and get some sleep, because you may get crushed tomorrow and we’ll want you fresh for that.

How do we reconcile the official and unofficial policies on Face Time?

Well, although face time will never go away in banking, the moronic type of Face Time is/has (mostly).

i.e. the type of Face Time where you sit around with ZEROOO work to do and invent all kinds of facial expressions, gestures and other ploys to look busy-as-f**k.

If you get caught or even suspected of Moronic Face Time you’ll look like an idiot.

But more importantly you’ll wear yourself out and be too tired when the real crunch work comes along and demands an all-nighter from you.

How stuuuupid.

So use your commonsense when it comes to deciding whether to stay or sleep.

Better yet, if you don’t have any deadline tasks, just do a quick check with your analyst-mentor or staffer around 9pm with “Anything I can help with?”.  If nothing and they explicitly say so, you can probably go home.  (this does however differ from bank to bank, as every place has a different culture…fair warning)

“9pm is sooooo early though”, I can hear people saying.

Well, reality is you’ll probably only get the chance to ask this question once a week and the rest of the time you will have deadline tasks keeping you chained to your desk well into the night.

What about the type of Face Time no one has ever told you about?

We are of course talking about…

EARLLLY Face Time.

Think 8am.

We’ve always thought this is on par with normal Face Time (the late night variety).  ie just as important.

And that’s why we came early every day during our internships back in the day.  (probably also why we all got return offers mother f**kerrrrrrrrs)

Of course if you’re a jaded analyst or associate prone to all-nighters and as sleep deprived as a guest at Camp Xray, this ‘get in early’ strategy is not a good idea, as it’s simply not sustainable over the long term.

But you my friend are an intern.

A peasant of the most DOWNTRODDEN proportions.

And hey, you’re only here for a couple of weeks and then it’s back to sleeping in till midday.

You can afford to implement a shock & awe strategy for your brief stint and just resolve to sleep when you’re dead!  Or when back in college.

Same same.

Apart from “you can”, why else would you want to come in early?

  • To get a head start on the day. You see, by coming in early you’ll have the chance to tidy up your delirious work from the previous night with a ‘sense-check’ – as well as reviewing your spelling, typos, retard comments and such.  And given you were operating at Ben-Stiller-Zoolander level last night this is frightfully important!!
  • Eat through the early morning email dump of bank-wide info, market updates, CCd emails etc.  By clearing out the info-dump before the real work comes in you’ll set yourself up for an effective working day.
  • Chance to greet everyone as they come in.

As an intern you should of course hold back on the over-familiarity with your early morning greetings (at least to begin with) – a simple nod will do Chachiiii.

But do feel free to go a step further with your own group and any other interns, whether it’s getting breakfast in the kitchen or going for coffee.  After all, this is the best time of day to socialize because people actually haaave the time AND the desire.

Now, what about Daytime Face Time?

Unfortunately being in early and out late is not enough.

It pays to be in the office…at your desk…when people come and go THROUGHOUT the day, with lunchtime being the truest indicator that you are doing some good ol’ Daytime Face Time.

Should you go to the gym, run errands or eat long lunches at Vivace’s down the street?

NONE of the above.

You should be eating your goddamn pastrami sandwich at your desk son!!

By doing this you’ll leave an indelible impression on every banker walking out to lunch.  They’ll be thinking you are one heck of a “gut-busting worker with a great attitude”!

I dare suggest the sight of an intern eating a sandwich with their left hand, whilst tapping out a few things with their right hand, is enough to turn any banker into a supporter as they think “Damn that mother f**ker doesn’t stop!”.

So no matter how attractive the hot beef at Vivace’s sounds, forget about it.

There is one EXCEPTION of course…

If any banker – or even a fellow intern – asks you to go out for lunch and you don’t have a 2pm deadline, take up the offer.

Socializing, networking or whatever you want to call it is always more important than Daytime Face Time.  Heck, it is the #1 thing to do during your internship outside crushing your work tasks!

So with all that said, what can we conclude on the whole messed up issue of Face Time??

Well, face time is REAL.

And during your internship it takes precedence over a lot of things you think are important, eg friends & family, hot lunch spots, personal hygiene etc.

But who cares?!

You’re ONLY here for a few months, so play full out, sacrifice everything to the glorious banking Gods and graaaaaab the $100,000 return offer!!

P.S. This lesson was extracted straight from our very popular Inside Investment Banking Course.  If you’re serious about breaking into banking, check it out now.

Screw financial modeling…you only need 6 skills to break into banking

If you’re an over excited wannabe Excel Monkey then you’ve probably tried just about everything to break in…from studying financial modeling till 3am to trying to memorize 100s of complicated technical interview questions.

But here’s the thing…

You’re wasting your time!  If you want to learn how to impress bankers, get interviews and land job offers straight out of college you simply need 6 skills.