M&A bankers' dreams revealed: A survey
Among M&A dealmakers, sleep and time off are craved.
Sydney-based Ansarada surveyed 51 analysts and 44 associates, vice presidents and directors working in the M&A departments of investment banks in the U.K., U.S. and Asia Pacific. Ansarada found most M&A analysts in Asia Pacific get between five and seven hours of sleep a night with some even getting more than seven hours. These analysts are also getting as many as four days off a month.
Most U.S. and U.K. M&A analysts are getting just three to five hours of sleep a night. The U.S. and U.K. analysts are getting between two and four days off a month. The majority of Asia Pacific M&A associates, vice presidents and directors get between five and seven hours of sleep a night. Some are getting more than seven hours.
In contrast, their counterparts in the U.S. and U.K. survive on no more than seven hours of sleep. ansarada asked the M&A bankers what was the most important factor in ensuring success in their role. Attention to detail, replied M&A analysts, associates, vice presidents and directors.
“Junior bankers in Asia Pacific must be the envy of their peers in the U.S. and the U.K.,” said James Rees, a former Credit Suisse M&A banker who now works as a corporate advisor to mid-market companies and family offices. “If attention to detail is the key to success, then getting more than five hours sleep a night and an occasional day off makes an enormous difference,” says Mr Rees. “M&A transactions are similar to a marathon and not a sprint. Sleep will assist with coping with high pressure environments over a long period of time.”
Ansarada also asked associates, vice presidents and directors why they work in M&A. Many said the job pays well. A similar number see their job in M&A as a stepping-stone to a different career. Similarly, most M&A analysts view their job as a stepping stone to work outside the M&A industry.
Ansarada also asked what the M&A bankers would do if they weren’t working in M&A. A number of M&A analysts said if they weren’t working in investment banking they would be management consultants. One M&A analyst though, perhaps jokingly, has ambitions to be a guidebook writer. Another a fly fisherman. Associates, vice presidents and directors said if they weren’t in M&A they would be lawyers or working in corporate development and strategy. Some expressed interest in starting a company.
One says, perhaps in jest, they would be a dolphin trainer. Another a Formula One motor racing driver. Racing cars for a living may be the ultimate fantasy but the best M&A market since the collapse of Lehman Brothers is giving many M&A bankers the ride of their lives.