The death of a 21-year old Bank of America intern who worked non-stop for 72 hours straight has opened a floodgate of silent allegations and has put the world's banking industry in a hot seat.
Moritz Erhardt, a German student who had earned a position as an intern at the London office of Bank of America's investment banking division, was found dead sprawled in his shower on Thursday, August 15 at his apartment on London's Claredale Street. His internship was good for seven weeks of the entire summer.
Reports said the young lad had just completed a consecutive three all-nighters at the bank prior to his death.
Although the Metropolitan Police in London has yet to release an official statement concerning the cause of his death, authorities are treating the case as non-suspicious.
"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," bank spokesman John McIvor said in a statement.
It is not clear just how popular the young German student was but the bank acknowledge that Mr Erhardt did work non-stop for three days in a row, stopping only at 6 a.m.
Tony Gleeson, Chief executive of the Victorian and Tasmanian Australian Institute of Management, the decision to work long hours usually stems from the young people themselves. Because they want to stand out and be noticed by the organization.
"There are a lot of driven young people today and it's a very competitive market in law firms and the banks," Mr Gleeson told SmartCompany.
But young people need to strike a balance.
"There are more than just health risks. It also impacts on your relationships at home and with colleagues; it even causes unproductivity after a certain level."
"In the long run you're also increasing the operating costs for the organisation. If one person gets seriously ill, from a manager's perspective, that is a significant cost," he said.
However, the kind of excessive work pressure that Mr Erhardt exhibited and got engaged with is a well-accepted open fact in the banking world, specially in the cities of London, Singapore, New York and Berlin.
"I think that what is very important is that HR professionals, and particularly those in the city, ensure that young people are being cared for and their needs are closely monitored," WebProNews quoted Ben Lyons, co-director of Intern Aware, a charity campaigning against unpaid internships, as saying.
"Young people really struggle with market access and they can be quite desperate... to get their foot on the job ladder and are willing to do whatever it takes. In some cases that can be too much," Katerina Rudiger, head of skills and policy campaign at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, told CNN.
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