Moritz Erhardt, a 21-year-old German exchange student studying at the University of Michigan was seven days away from completing a summer internship at Bank of America’s London offices when he passed away last week, reportedly after working 72 consecutive hours. He was found unconscious in the shower of his student housing flat from an apparent seizure before being pronounced dead at the scene.
An anonymous poster on WallStreetOasis.com—where comment boards often discuss the high demands of banking internships—claimed Moritz “went home at 6am three days in a row.” Speaking with London newspaper the Evening Standard in 2011, a student referred to this as “the Magic Roundabout,” that is, “when you get a taxi to drive you home at 7am and then it waits for you while you shower and change and then takes you back to the office,” they explained. “[It’s] every intern’s worst nightmare.” According to The Independent, a former investment banker confirmed that it’s not unusual for interns in the industry to work 14-hour days. Moritz’ internship was apparently paid in this case, for whatever ethical morsel that may be worth. According to the The Independent, BAML (Bank of America Merrill Lynch) banking interns typically earn £2,700, or a little more than $3600, per month.
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal yesterday, a spokesperson for BAML confirmed Mortiz’ death, saying, “He was popular amongst his peers and was a highly diligent intern at our company with a promising future. Our first thoughts are with his family and we send our condolences to them at this difficult time.” Tamra Talmadge-Anderson, director of public relations for Ross School of Business at U of M, where Mortiz was enrolled last year, remembers him as “very well-liked, incredibly open, bright, and a helpful young man.” If nothing else, maybe this is an appropriate time to re-examine the black market intern economy that New York City businesses are so reliant upon, yes?
Follow Lauren Beck on Twitter @heylaurenbeck.