Newly graduated asset managers should prepare for 72-hour workweeks, says a JPMorgan executive.
CEO Mary Callahan Erdoes of the asset management division of the American bank spoke about this during an episode of Bloomberg Wealth with David Rubenstein.
Erdoes says longer working days help graduate analysts master the trade more quickly. Based on the idea that it takes about 10,000 hours to really get to grips with something, it would take you five years if you work standard 8-hour workdays, Erdoes says.
“On Wall Street, it’s more like 12 hours a day, six days a week. That means that you only need a little more than 2.5 years to become proficient in a profession.”
Once someone has gained experience in various places within the asset management department, he or she is assigned to a specialist team on the basis of proven qualities, Erdoes explains.
Culture of continuous learning
Erdoes switched from Meredith, Martin & Kaye to JPMorgan in 1996 and took over the wealth arm in 2009. In addition to insights into her early career – as a six-year-old she already kept her grandmother’s checkbook – Erdoes also gave insight into the “intensive training” that graduates can expect in their first three years.
Erdoes describes the work as “permanent learning” and says that every day starts at 8 a.m. with a meeting.
“I call it a mini-university. It’s not just about what you’ve read in the papers and what has happened since the night before, but especially about how all that information affects a client’s portfolio,” explains Erdoes.
“You interpret all the information every morning and then you figure out how to apply it in all situations that arise.”
Wealth managers provide advice to their clients and also provide other financial services related to investing. 2,200 summer internships have already started at JPMorgan this year. According to Erdoes, 3,600 new analysts will be working in September.
Wall Street under fire for workload
The workload at investment banks came under scrutiny after the death of an intern in 2013. Moritz Erhardt, 21, was an intern at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in London, working through the night.
He had just completed three 21-hour workdays when he was found dead in the bathroom of his dorm. He may have had an epileptic seizure.
The incident caused a small cultural change at American investment banks.These are companies with no activities or income that have been specifically set up to be floated on the stock exchange.
In March, Goldman Sachs junior bankers complained internally about what they believed to be “inhumane conditions” under which they had to work. The bank adjusted the formal number of working hours accordingly.