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The secret life of a PJT restructuring banker

If you're looking for a job that has longevity at this point in the cycle, then working in debt restructuring may be your thing. When boutique investment bank PJT Partners released its first quarter results in May, it revealed that restructuring was its fastest growing business and declared that we are "in a multiyear cycle of elevated activity in liability management and in-court restructurings."

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As we noted yesterday, one of these restructurings involves WeWork, the temporary office provider that once had Goldman Sachs bankers sitting in ice baths in an attempt to win business. PJT has been working with WeWork's debtors on a bankruptcy plan and has been charging its bankers out for an effective rate of $9k an hour in the process. 

If you think you might want to be one of these bankers, it's worth having a long look at what PJT says they've actually been doing in its recently filed request for payment of its fees. It's not often that bankers of any seniority log their work on an hour by hour basis, but in this case, PJT's bankers - from partner to analyst - have done precisely that. 

Below are a few sample days from the filing. They reveal some realities about how banking jobs change as you become more senior. 

At the start of a banking career (Michell Jang, the analyst), you spend almost all your time doing one particular thing: the preparation of financial materials and analysis. If you're lucky you might get called into a few internal meetings. A lot of time is spent on one piece of work. 

As an associate (Barry Linden), your life is similar, but there's a slightly higher proportion of internal meetings.

As a vice president (Meera Satiani) you are doing everything. You're doing the analysis, but you're also in a lot of external meetings with all kinds of people. Your day is mostly divided up into tiny increments. 

And as a partner (Jamie Baird), all you do is brief external meetings. 

In our sample below everyone works weekends, even Baird, who had some meetings on Saturday, March 23rd. Satiani worked a couple of hours one weekend. Linden worked three hours across a Saturday and Sunday. Jang, the analyst, worked the most: six hours preparing materials one Saturday and another two hours on Sunday.

The implication is that restructuring is your calling if you a) like financial analysis and b) could transition into a person who likes a lot of meetings.

Most bankers work on multiple deals, so this is likely to be just a portion of their schedules.


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Photo by Marcel Strauß on Unsplash

AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

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