A 21-year-old intern who worked grueling hours at Bank of America (BAC)'s London office died just a week before his internship was to conclude.
Moritz Erhardt, a University of Michigan student from Germany, reportedly had worked until 6 a.m. for three days straight and was found dead in his flat. Erhardt, who suffered from epilepsy, collapsed in his shower, according to reports.
"We are deeply shocked and saddened by the news of Moritz Erhardt's death," BofA 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
John McIvor, the bank's head of international communications, told CNBC.com that he could not confirm the circumstances surrounding Erhardt's death, though he did provide some insight into the life of an intern.
(Read more from CNBC: Obamacare is coming, and so are the con artists)
"The whole point about internships is to give students a positive experience and to get to know our firm and us to know them well, so we can work out who would be the best fit to join the company full-time after they graduate," he said.
"I'm not going to comment on what hours people choose to spend in the office voluntarily," he added. "But if you think about it logically, what we're trying to do is something that happens across all the big firms. We're looking to get to know them better."
The Independent reported that it spoke to others familiar with the matter who confirmed how grueling life can be for interns:
One former investment banker confirmed that interns could regularly work 14 hour days.
The banker, who wished to remain anonymous, told The Independent: "Interns can regularly clock up to 100 or even 110 hours a week, but people are fully aware that banking is hard work and the company constantly reminds you to manage upwards in order to not overheat. This is the first time I've heard of something like this happening and banking is a very close culture."
-By CNBC's Jeff Cox. Follow him @JeffCoxCNBCcom on Twitter.
More From CNBC
- Tesla says Model S gets highest safety rating ever
- Violent felons sent into homes as service workers
- Obama presses for quicker action on bank rules
- Bank of America