By Victoria Ward, and Anna Hill
4:07PM BST 20 Aug 2013
Moritz Erhardt, 21, was found dead as he neared the end of a gruelling seven-week placement with the Bank of America Merrill Lynch's (BAML) investment bank division.
He collapsed in the shower in his student flat in East London amid claims that he had worked throughout the night eight times in two weeks in a bid to impress company bosses, returning home at 6am on three consecutive days.
It has been claimed he suffered an epileptic fit.
In an online profile, Mr Erhardt, from Germany, revealed that he had developed a tendency to be “over ambitious” at an early age.
He said: “I have grown up in a family that expected me, in whatever respect, to excel in life. By implication, I felt somehow pressurised. However, I did not intend to belie my parents’ expectations.
“Therefore, I have become a highly competitive and ambitious nature from early on.”
Members of internet message boards used by City staff claimed that other interns had been ordered not to discuss Mr Erhardt’s death.
One poster wrote: “One of the best interns in IBD BAML — 3 all nighters — didn’t turn up, colleagues went to find him.”
Another claimed that he had been told by someone who worked on the same floor as Mr Erhardt: “He was working very, very, very long hours (as in 4 days spent almost without sleeping).”
One intern who lived in his block said: “Apparently he pulled eight all-nighters in two weeks. They get you working crazy hours and maybe it was just too much for him in the end.”
Colleagues described him as a “superstar” who worked very hard, was very focused and had been “tipped for greatness”.
Scotland Yard insisted that it was not treating the death as suspicious and the local coroner was awaiting the results of a post-mortem before deciding whether to open a formal inquest.
A Bank of America spokesman refused to discuss the claims about Mr Erhardt’s working hours but admitted that the bank would “learn” from his death.
John McIvor, head of international communications, said: “There is an order of process here. We are making sure our interns are fine and we will then have to consider what the lessons are from this. If there are things to be learnt we will see what we can do.”
The bank said in a statement: “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.”
Mr Erhardt, who is understood to have been paid around £6,000 for the internship, was discovered last Thursday by a flatmate at Claredale House in Bethnal Green. Paramedics tried to resuscitate him but he was declared dead at the scene.
His parents were understood to be travelling to London from their home in Freiburg, near the Swiss border.
Mr Erhardt studied business administration as an exchange student at the prestigious University of Michigan’s Stephen M. Ross School of Business before attending WHU Otto Beisheim School of Management in Vallendar, Germany, from which he was due to graduate next year.
He had already completed placements at KPMG Consulting, Morgan Stanley, and in Deutsche Bank’s corporate finance division and wanted to work in strategy consulting.
In his online profile, he said he wanted to help build a fairer, more peaceful and more humane world, adding: “That is what my character is all about.”
He said: “With respect to my performance in school, I was striving for excellence and trying to be the best all the time.
“My primary goal consists of the pursuit of continuous improvement and the desire to strive for excellence. I want to make the very best out of everything that comes my way.”
Investment bank intern, 21, on £45,000 worked 'until 6am for three nights in a
row' before he was found dead in his London flat
Moritz Erhardt had been interning with investment bank Merrill Lynch
Erhardt, from Germany and understood to have been studying at the University of Michigan, was found dead in his East London flat last week
21-year-old had 'pulled all-nighters' during his summer internship
Summer interns are paid £45,000 a year pro rata for their work
By CHRISTIAN GYSIN FOR THE DAILY MAIL and CLAIRE ELLICOTT FOR THE DAILY MAIL and MARTIN ROBINSON
PUBLISHED: 16:29 EST, 19 August 2013 | UPDATED: 06:51 EST, 25 August 2013
A young student has died in mysterious circumstances while employed as an intern at a top investment bank – amid claims he was asked to work punishingly long hours.
The body of Moritz Erhardt was discovered on Thursday evening as he neared the end of a seven-week internship with the Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s investment bank division.
The 21-year-old – understood to be from Germany but studying at the University of Michigan – had joined Merrill Lynch earlier in the summer hoping to forge a career with the firm.
Paid interns at the bank normally earn £45,000 a year pro rata - around £2,700 a month.
Yesterday it was claimed Mr Erhardt may have suffered a fit or seizure. However internet forum users said he may have been working ‘all-nighters’ during his stay with the company.
Many banks are known to encourage their young students to work late into the night and in the past there have been claims those keen to impress have put in long hours with very little sleep.
On one site, called wallstreetoasis.com, many posters insisted Mr Erhardt regularly worked long hours and added: ‘One of the best interns at BAML – three all-nighters, didn’t turn up, colleagues went to find him.’
Mr Erhardt had been living in the Claredale House student accommodation flats in Bethnal Green, East London. The apartments are rented out to hundreds of interns during the summer months.
Another poster on the wallstreetoasis.com site added: ‘It is absolutely true – he was found dead in the shower by his flatmate. Intern at BAML who went home at 6am three days in a row.’
In recent years interns have told of working long hours at investment banks.
One 20-year-old told London’s Evening Standard in 2011 that ‘you work whatever hours you’re asked to’.
He added: ‘Every intern’s worst nightmare is what’s called “the Magic Roundabout” – which 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.’
Another 24-year-old told the same newspaper: ‘About 100 hours a week was the minimum and the average was probably 110. I worked six-and-a-half days a week.’
A source at Bank of America Merrill Lynch said Mr Erhardt had completed previous internships at other investment banks but could not confirm or deny claims he had worked exceptionally long hours.
However he insisted staff are given both ‘mentors’ and ‘buddies’ when they join the firm and are monitored by staff from the human resources department.
The source added Mr Erhardt was very well-liked by members of staff and there will now be a post mortem examination and inquest into his death.
A statement from BAML said: ‘We are deeply shocked and saddened by the news of Moritz Erhardt’s death.
'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.’