Dating an Investment Banker

So, you fell for a 10 in some deal sleds with freakishly good Excel skills? Who could blame you.

Now, it’s really no secret that dating an investment banker, or dating as an investment banker, is not all that easy. But don’t worry, it is still possible.

For this article I grabbed my long-time girlfriend for some firsthand input. She’s been with me through the analyst years and private equity associate years, so is a hardened veteran when it comes to putting up with finance dating.

An investment banker on the way to meet his date.

Why is it Such a Big Deal?

For those who may have come across this article without a background in finance, here’s a quick primer on the difficulties of banking. Your significant other, or potential significant other, probably works very, very long hours.

There will be stretches where it’s nonstop for 16 hours a day 7 days a week, or worse. There’s no doubt every finance bro or broette is exaggerating their weekly hours, but anywhere between 80 – 110+ is typical for the worst groups on the Street.

On top of that, they’re also probably focused on recruiting for private equity or hedge fund roles at the same time. This means even more hours (plus stress) cranking through paper LBOs, case studies, and investment pitches, not to mention the interviews themselves.

That may sound bad, but what’s even worse is the unpredictability of it. The hot analyst you’re trying to seduce may finally be on his way to a date with you, only to get an urgent email from his VP.

The MD has a last minute meeting with a client tomorrow and needs his analyst to slap some logos on a PowerPoint deck so he has some material to bumble through. Invariably, your hot analyst will arrange the logos incorrectly for the first 69 iterations, so they will be up all night long, missing your date in the process.

Is It Even Possible to Date an Investment Banker?

The good news is that, while most definitely more difficult, it’s still quite possible to both date a banker and date as a banker. Plenty of people do it and plenty of people have found their lifelong partners while working as bankers.

There will be rough patches. Absolutely no doubt about it. But if both parties are committed, it is more than possible.

The one caveat I’ll make is that it may be easier to continue a relationship through banking than to start a new one. Often, banking work will ebb and flow. One month your SO may be chained to the desk, while the next month they have most weekends fully free.

If you have an existing relationship, you can just spend quality time when schedules allow. If not, it may be difficult to have a first date, become incredibly busy, and then postpone the second date until a month later. Still possible, but certainly not as easy.

Tips to Make it Work

If you decide to go for it, here’s what’s worked best for me/my girlfriend and my friends and colleagues who’ve gone through it. You’ll need to see what works for you, but hopefully this serves as a good starting point.

  • Assume best intentions. It’s easy to get frustrated at each other when things don’t work out. If a date gets cancelled because of work, chances are the one having to stay at the office is just as upset as the one who got cancelled on.

  • Prioritize. If you’re serious about dating, make it happen. If you have one weekend off a month, spend Saturday with your guy/girl and not getting hammered with the homies. If you’re not serious about dating, then don’t date an investment banker or date as a banker.

  • Sneak time in other ways. Your Excel nerd may not be able to stay away from the desk long enough for a full dinner date. But, you can meet up during the day and grab lunch or coffee. It’s not going to be as romantic, but take what you can get.

  • Communicate and be up-front. If you’re the banker in the relationship, tell your SO what to expect in advance. Don’t sugar coat things and then go back on your word later. I’ve been particularly bad at this one and had a habit of drastically underestimating the time it would take me to turn comments. Nothing is worse than thinking your banker will be able to hang one day, then receiving hourly delays until you fall asleep while waiting.

  • Plan in advance as the non-banker. This may sound contradictory vs. what I said earlier about last minute comments. However, if you have a more flexible schedule, you can knock out your responsibilities ahead of potential date time. It would suck to miss out on a rare weekend date opportunity because you realized your Master’s thesis proposal was due at midnight and you hadn’t started.
Picture of date night at a restaurant

Does It Get Better?

The good news is that if you make it through the analyst years you have survived the worst. This will be a two to three year period, but things become drastically better after even the first 12-months. At that point your investment banker SO will become less of an idiot at work and start to know what they’re doing, meaning they finish tasks quickly and get home sooner.

After the analyst years, bankers will typically stay on as associates, move to private equity or a hedge fund, or find a corporate development or other industry role. All of these options are an improvement over analyst-level banking.

These improvements come in terms of both fewer hours worked as well as more control over scheduling. Buy-side roles (PE or hedge fund) also do away with the client-facing work. This means no last minute deliverables you weren’t expecting.

Closing Thoughts on Dating an Investment Banker

If you’re both committed, go for it. If not, don’t waste each other’s time. Dating an investment banker, or dating as a banker, are both totally doable if that’s what you want.

You’ll have some fights with your partner, you’ll get pissed at your partner’s bosses, and you’ll tweak when you see their phone light up with a new email. But, you also might figure out that you’ve found your homie for life.

Final word, dating an investment banker in a long-distance relationship is also possible. Reference the difficulties listed above and multiply by 10, but know that it’ll still work. If you’re considering long distance you’ve probably been together for a while already.

If that’s the case, just give it a shot and don’t let the banking stop you. My girlfriend and I did long distance for years, as did a few of my colleagues (many of whom are now married). Not always pleasant, but none of us would change a thing.

Sam Hillier

Sam Hillier is a reporter at Transacted covering private equity and investment banking. He previously spent time as an investment professional focused on direct buyouts, as well as an earlier strategic advisory stint.