"There's a reason you don't find an awful lot of old investment bankers," says Lindley DeGarmo, a former director at Salomon Brothers. "It's a tough life." Tough, indeed. A University of Southern California researcher found insomnia, alcoholism, heart palpitations, eating disorders and an explosive temper in some of the roughly two dozen entry-level investment bankers she shadowed fresh out of business school. The USC study began a decade ago at two Wall Street banks that granted access on the condition they remain anonymous. Alexandra Michel, an assistant management professor at USC's Marshall School of Business, shadowed the bankers at the office for more than 100 hours a week during the first year, about 80 hours a week during the second year, and then followed up with in-person interviews. Her findings clarify why roughly one-fifth of bankers leave the profession during that first decade: the non-existent work/life balance the profession requires is simply impossible to maintain.
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