Published: Friday, January 24, 2014
Updated: Thursday, February 13, 2014 16:02
NATASHA THOMSON/THE HOYA
The Credit Suisse D.C. office at 1201 F St. NW where junior employees’ weekend hours have been limited by new policies.
Credit Suisse, a major employer of Georgetown graduates, has followed the efforts of other investment banks to improve employee work-life balance by limiting weekend working hours for junior employees.
In a Jan. 13 internal memo, Credit Suisse revealed new policies to discourage the two lowest levels of employees, analysts and associates, from working between 6 p.m. on Fridays and 10 a.m. on Sundays, according to The New York Times. The only exception to the policy, which the bank said would take effect last week, is if bankers are working on live deals.
Credit Suisse hired 20 graduates from the Class of 2012, according to the Cawley Career Education Center’s senior survey report. A number of Georgetown students have also worked as summer interns at Credit Suisse and other banks.
“The Cawley Career Education Center supports employers’ actions, regardless of industry, that strive to create a climate that values both wellness and hard work,” Cawley Career Education Center Executive Director Mike Schaub wrote in an email.
Credit Suisse declined to comment.
Ryan Cunningham (MSB ‘14) interned at the Houston branch of Credit Suisse last summer, the same office that pioneered the bank’s new junior associate policies.
“About three months before the summer there was an associate who hadn’t seen his wife in about three weeks [while he was] awake,” Cunningham said. He added that the employee did not come in to work one Saturday and when questioned by senior management, he presented the argument that having at least one day off would allow employees to work harder during the rest of the week. As a result, Cunningham and his fellow junior employees did not have to work on Saturdays for the duration of the internship, unlike their counterparts in other offices.
“We were ecstatic to hear that because it really goes against the grain in terms of the horrendous work-life balance that the investment banking industry traditionally gets,” Cunningham said. “Having that light at the end of the tunnel … makes the work during the week a lot more worthwhile.”
Cunningham added that senior management respected the junior employees’ day off.
“They wouldn’t try to pressure us into working on the weekends and there was no negative peer pressure,” he said.
Students with work experience in the banking industry approve of the changes.
“Having this new rule will provide a better transition for college students looking to end up in the industry,” former UBS intern Aakash Bhatia (MSB ‘16) said. “Instead of being thrown into the fire you are transitioned in a smoother manner into the investment banking lifestyle and the responsibilities that come with it.”
However, others junior analysts doubt that the new policies will represent an overall decrease in work hours.
“I think it is a large step for analysts at the banks having a better work-life balance. That being said I don’t think the analysts will work less hours-wise,” said an MSB student who interned at a prominent investment bank last summer and requested anonymity because of his contract with the bank post-graduation. “It will probably still be over 100 hours a week, but they will get a 24-hour period off to recuperate.”
Credit Suisse’s decision comes in the wake of Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s internal announcement Jan. 10 that junior bankers should take four days off each month, and Goldman Sachs’ recommendation in October that analysts should not work weekends whenever possible, according to The New York Times.
“Investment banking is very much a client-facing business and we traditionally have been at the beck and call of our clients,” Cunningham added. “Having one day off on a weekend is actually a pretty good compromise for the intensity of the work we do.”