The Life of the Number-Crunching Analyst

Thousands of economics majors head off to industry each year to work as analysts. They’re lured by the promise that they’ll learn a lot, work hard, play hard and get ahead.  But is it true?  Who better to ask than the brilliant young analyst Elisabeth Fosslien.  And as a good young analyst, she’s distilled her portrait of life as an analyst into charts.  Having once lived the analyst life—my first job out of college was at the Reserve Bank of Australia, crunching numbers and making charts—all of these resonated with me.

The Learning Curve


The Motto


The Lifestyle

The Job Description Generator

The “Balance”

The Mindset

The Brief Respite

The Roadblocks

The Work

The Bonds Created by Time of Day in Office

The Evolution of Relationships with Other Employees

The Jargon

The Overlap of Programs (This is Supposed to be a Venn Diagram)

The Data

The Marry/Date/Kill Game: Microsoft Office Edition

The Heart Attack

The Two Week Extention

The Entire Process

These are fantastic!  Thanks Elisabeth for sharing them with us. And if you enjoyed these, check out the charts Elisabeth compiled for Valentine’s Day, or check out more of her visualizations, here.

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  1. Regular Jim says:

    So awesome. So concise. So painfully accurate. I’m more of a db guy but those arcs probably apply to anybody that has to handle any significant amount of data. Thanks for this it made my morning a little easier.

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  2. Greg says:

    Is it just me, or do people these days usually use “steep learning curve” to refer to something that is very *difficult* to learn initially? (I know it doesn’t match the combined meaning of the three words in the phrase, but I’m asking about actual usage.)

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    • SaraM. says:

      Yes, “steep learning curve” usually refers to something that is very difficult in the beginning.

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  3. Remy says:

    Truly excellent work. Hits the nail on the head – though I envy the proportion of “life” you’ve got in that pie chart.

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  4. JimmyJam says:

    Awesome – She forgot to list “At the end of the day” as the most-used Jargon in I-Banking. That was always my favorite, and I have vowed to never use that phase for the rest of my life. It is what it is…

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    • MGWilson says:

      Ah, and don’t forget “The reality is…”

      That and “at the end of the day” are the two phrases for which I have made a similar vow .

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  5. Ammon Fife says:

    Awesome! My life in charts!

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  6. Adam says:

    Absolutely amazing! Now, when people ask what I do, I am just going to print out a copy of this :)

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  7. therebeliousrabbit says:

    haha…great..who thought there will b so many ways to explain your work!

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  8. Pramod says:

    It is what it is

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    • poppa_f says:

      10 year analytics vet here :)

      whole thing rings true for me to a 95% significance level

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