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.

David Beyer

I've never seen SQL referred to as Sequel...unless I'm missing something?

Red Raider

this is totally awesome

Nicolas A

So...The big question is: Is it worth it?
Can anyone answer? Why or why not?

Not looking for long answer, just a brief summary, compared to other careers in the business world or elsewhere.




hello, i see you are a math enthusiast . I want to go for research work in maths,but not in a lab. I'll prefer a job that keeps teaching me and i can daily apply maths there. I'm in DTU: in maths and computing. 3rd year is going to begin. I am quite confused as to what to do and what not for a career in mathematics. Here are my options:
1* number crunching sounds great ! HOW TO GO ABOUT IT ?
1. Try to make it as a quant or actuary
2. Do a project under a professor on data mining : i have just started it, but its not very interesting and im not sure if it will help.
3. Do a biostats project : will be part of my major project . Started R programming. Not sure if useful
4. Study database and NLP as a part of intern at a startup . Again not sure if helpful in industry.
5. trying for campus internship and placement : will require working on coding and no maths.


Nice charts! Minor mistakes:
1. It's SQL as in Structured Query Language, not Sequel, although it's pronounced as such
2. It's extension not extention

Other than that, it's completely relatable. And that's coming from an advertising guy