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Investment Banking Travel – A practical view

Investment Bankers travel frequently for meetings like (not exhaustive list)

1)     Pitch to win a new client,

2)     Kick-off meeting for a new deal

3)     Meeting to gather data for work on the Information Memorandums/financial models or meetings to introduce the client to potential investors etc.

One of the many highs of an IB job is that it’s exciting to talk to CEOs, CFOs and shareholders of multiple companies and understand the craft directly from the horse’s mouth

Meeting a leader and see how they think and what led to them to where they are is a surely a rewarding and a learning experience.

Visiting a client company’s facility/production site gives you a chance to experience the industry with all your senses.

1)     You walk through a production facility and see how the assembly line churns out new products.

2)     Look at the assembly lines, production machines and get a 3D view of the Asset base or Capex in front of you.

3)     See the warehouses loaded with raw materials and finished goods stacked separately with delivery trucks lined up for the last mile delivery

4)     You get to speak to heads of various departments, understand the process in much better detail

5)     You get a better feeling for that industry than just drafting company profiles with website pictures

Then, there are few not-so-fun practical realities to this business travel as well 

1)     Crazy travel schedules: You travel according to your client’s schedule, which means a lot of red-eye flights. Taking the 5.30AM flight so that you can start the day at 9:30AM at your client’s site is not fun. (Add the additional time for security checks and the travel time to the nearest airport)

2)     Professional trip only: Usually you go out on a day trip where you fly back the same night. Your day will be jam packed with meetings, discussions, data collection activities etc. You will not get time to explore the city you are in.

3)     Seamless Work: Traveling does not mean you are off-work. You may end up researching last-minute facts for the meeting. This means you’ll end up working off your laptop in a tiny airplane seat. This sucks out all the fun out of traveling.

4)     Parallel Projects: Your other deals will not just suddenly disappear. You still have to deal with your other workstreams regardless of the travel. Once you get off the plane, you will be going back straight to the office. You already work long hours in Investment Banking. Business traveling only makes things more complicated.

Traveling in Investment Banking depends on your seniority, the group you are a part of, size of the IB etc. The more senior you are, the more you travel. At smaller boutiques, where teams are smaller, you may get client exposure earlier and thus might get to travel earlier.

On the other hand, at larger institutions, you might be an Associate waiting for a couple of years for some client exposure.

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