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The Best Investment Banks for Lifestyle

In recent weeks, Poets&Quants has been posting Wall Street Oasis’ rankings of the top investment banks in a variety of categories. Divided into several categories, here are the top performers thus far:

Best Pay: Blackstone Group, Evercore, Harris Williams & Company

Professional Growth: Evercore, Harris Williams & Company, Houlihan Lokey

Hardest Interviews: Evercore, Moelis & Company, Blackstone Group

Easiest Interviews: Harvey & Company, Credit Agricole, Imperial Capital

Feedback: Harris Williams & Company, Piper Jaffray, Evercore

Recognition: Evercore, Piper Jaffray, Harris Williams & Company

Fairness: Evercore, Blackstone Group, Robert W. Baird

Proudest Employees: Blackstone Group, Goldman Saches, Evercore

Most Recommended: Evercore, Blackstone Group, Harris Williams & Company

Best Communication: Blackstone Group, Robert W. Baird & Company, Evercore

Best Teamwork: Harris Williams & Company, Evercore, Blackstone Group

Top Senior Leadership: Blackstone Group, Evercore, Moelis & Company

The results were based off results from member surveys from over 5,000 firms, with members scoring their firms on a five point scale (with rankings based off a percentile basis). Now, Wall Street Oasis is down to their final two categories: Lifestyle and Overall Rank.


For their lifestyle rankings, Wall Street Oasis members answered questions related to three categories: average hours worked, time off, and work-life balance. As you’d expect, investment banking can be a grind, where associates and analysts are often working 70-80 hour weeks (including weekends) to keep up with expectations (and their peers). And that was certainly true of the top firms.

And if you hope to work for Moelis & Company, you should budget 89 hours per week (excluding commute). That was the average work week according to Wall Street Oasis members who work there. That was actually 4.5 hours (an afternoon) more than Lazard, where employees averaged 85.3 hours per week. Perennial Wall Street powers also squeezed their employees, headed by Harris Williams & Company (82.6 Hours), Evercore (81.4 hours), Piper Jaffray (75.9 hours), and Blackstone (75.8 hours). By comparison, Goldman Sachs (72.4 hours), Citi (70.7 hours), and Morgan Stanley (67.6 hours) almost seem benevolent in their expectations.

Yes, Wall Street’s he-man culture, where men and women often measure their value and productivity by their hours, is still alive-and-well. However, if you’re a newly-minted MBA, you may want to compare your hours against pay. Take Piper Jaffray, for example, where first year associates make $183,044 according to Wall Street Oasis. If you take 75.9 hours and multiply it by 51 weeks – and then divide it by their first year salary – they’re really only making $47.28 an hour. They’d be better off being a union longshoreman (if you remove danger from the mix, that is). And if you’re working those hours as an analyst, you’d be making $32.78 an hour (excluding taxes). Those are nice sweet checks, no doubt. But is it really worth giving up one’s life for them?

Moelis & Company actually finished second when it comes to the worst work-life balance. They were topped by Americas Growth Capital. Lazard, Rothschild, Harris Williams & Company, Goldman Sachs, Piper Jaffray, and Houlihan Lokey also made the top 15 in this category.

If you’re looking for more reasonable expectations, start with ScotiaBank. When it comes to management support for time off, ScotiaBank ranks above all other firms in the 99.2 percentile. They are followed by Nomura Holdings, Wells Fargo, SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, and (surprise) Evercore (where you still average over 80 hours per week). Other big names in this category include Robert W. Baird & Company, William Blair, Morgan Stanley, and Barclays Capital.

Wells Fargo and Evercore also top the list when it comes to management support for work-life balance. The other companies in the top five in this category include: BNP Paribas, Credit Agricole, and William Blair.

To see the full ranking, click here.