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I recently came across this article while looking for top investment banks to work for. This is very interesting. For instance, would you ever choose HL over CS and MS? What are your thoughts on this article? Legit?


Earlier this year, Vault surveyed nearly 3,500 banking professionals, asking them to rate their peer firms in terms of prestige, as well as their own firms in several quality of life categories, including compensation, hours, culture, business outlook, training, and overall satisfaction. A weighted formula* was then applied to these ratings to create the 2014 Vault Banking 50--a ranking of the best firms to work for in investment banking. And so, below, in descending order, are the investment banking firms deemed by insiders to be the 10 best to work for.

1. The Blackstone Group
What insiders say: "Incredible colleagues, great learning experience, you work on extremely complex deals, but there's never a minute of downtime."

What professionals at peer firms say: "Strong restructuring and M&A groups, very prestigious and intelligent, but has a sweatshop reputation."

What we say: Stephen Schwarzman has arguably built the best firm on the Street with perhaps a more powerful career-building name than Goldman. And the firm's rise from No. 2 last year to No. 1 this year in the Vault Banking 50 underscores the fact that the smaller, boutique banks and independent advisory firms are now on par with the bulge brackets (which not so long ago were the undisputed kings of Wall Street and best launching pads for Wall Street careers).

2. Goldman Sachs
What insiders say: "Team-oriented culture where you work with highly motivated, smart, energetic people striving to think beyond status quo; however, hours are insane."

What professionals at peer firms say: "Still the best, the cream of the crop, no one is close, these guys are on both sides of every deal, but their attitude keeps getting worse--dropping quickly due to their arrogance."

What we say: Despite the recent FabFab guilty verdict, Goldman has for the most part stayed clear of bad press for quite some time and is still, by far, the No. 1 dealmaker on Wall Street. Also, when it comes to prestige, Goldman's still golden.

3. J.P. Morgan Investment Bank
What insiders say: "Team-oriented culture, good deal experience, lots of client exposure, strong exit opportunities, but the work/life balance leaves much to be desired."

What peers say: "Well respected, draws great junior talent, a leader among the bulge brackets, but that huge trading loss hurt their reputation."

What we say: The London Whale squashed tons of prestige (as well as its No. 1 ranking in the Vault Banking 50), but insiders are still in love with Jamie Dimon, and the firm's still solidly in second place as far as the bulge bracket goes (that is, it's just a few strokes behind Goldman).

4. Houlihan Lokey
What insiders say: "Fantastic colleagues and great deal experience, but the hours can be long and unpredictable."

What peers say: "Middle-market powerhouse and a very good, solid firm, but not that prestigious."

What we say: Treats its employees with incredible respect, offering perhaps the best overall quality of life in investment banking, but lacks name recognition--still nowhere near a household name on Wall Street.

5. Evercore Partners
What insiders say: "Highly prestigious, great deal flow, great deal experience, strong exit opportunities, but not much work/life balance."

What peers say: "Rolls Royce of I-banking--only doing huge, high-impact deals."

What we say: Slowly has become one of the Street's top dealmakers and now demands a tremendous amount of respect throughout the industry.

6. Morgan Stanley
What insiders say: "Great culture and extremely intelligent coworkers, but there's a work/life imbalance and too much deferred compensation."

What peers say: "Just as solid of an environment to learn in as Goldman, with a much better culture and better people, but lost its luster following the crisis and is in search of an identity."

What we say: Still a top firm with a great name, but banking employees aren't pleased with their comp, or the fact that management seems to be focusing more on wealth management than banking.

7. Centerview Partners
What insiders say: "Extremely competitive compensation, great colleagues, high-profile assignments, but if you want to stay in banking for just one or two years and then move to private equity, it's probably not the place for you."

What peers say: "Great pay, good culture, best boutique ... these guys are on fire right now."

What we say: Once an up-and-coming firm and now a firm with staying power, as well as one with lots of clout on Wall Street, not to mention several hotshots, including a former U.S. Secretary of State, Bob Rubin.

8. Greenhill & Co.
What insiders say: "Blue-chip clients and thus blue-chip transaction experience, but not as well known as some of its competitors, and the benefits are mediocre."

What peers say: "Good in M&A, a very good boutique, but some people have been unhappy there."

What we say: A great boutique that works on big, important deals, but less sexy than other top independent advisors.

9. Perella Weinberg Partners
What insiders say: "Amazing people, good compensation, but as a smaller firm we don't fully cover all industries."

What peers say: "Good boutique that works on some mega deals."

What we say: Another well known, strong boutique, but a couple notches below Evercore, Greenhill, and Lazard when it comes to prestige.

10. Credit Suisse
What insiders say: "Friendly workplace filled with extremely intelligent and hardworking people, but you'll work long hours and the compensation could be better."

What peers say: "Good leveraged finance unit, strong energy and power practice, but have had some layoff and compensation issues."

What we say: Not as powerful of a name as Goldman, J.P. Morgan, or Morgan Stanley, but has managed to stayed away from negative press and is still considered very prestigious.


http://www.vault.com/blog/workplace-issues/50-best...

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Comments (10)

  • chak's picture

    If they're using a "weighted algorithm", this seems about right. HLHZ's lifestyle and culture pull its average up, while GS/MS's prestige counterbalance the shitty culture and lifestyle. Blackstone kills it in both categories. To my understanding, the algorithm has more "lifestyle-based" variables and thus those hold more weight -- hence the high HLHZ ranking. If you want to look purely at a firm's prestige, Vault has a "Top 50" list ranked solely by prestige -- HLHZ is way low on that one.

  • NYKnicks92's picture

    There's something negative said about hours or work/life balance in each of the first 6 reviews. It gets repetitive. Vault has a strange hard-on for HL and it's reflected in their rankings.

    Also, from what I've read on this sight it sounds like BX doesn't work particularly long hours since deal flow isn't that great. So that means BX analysts get the benefit of manageable hours and top prestige? Does this sound fucking sweet or am I missing something?

  • In reply to NYKnicks92
    chemicals's picture

    NYKnicks92:

    There's something negative said about hours or work/life balance in each of the first 6 reviews. It gets repetitive. Vault has a strange hard-on for HL and it's reflected in their rankings.

    Also, from what I've read on this sight it sounds like BX doesn't work particularly long hours since deal flow isn't that great. So that means BX analysts get the benefit of manageable hours and top prestige? Does this sound fucking sweet or am I missing something?

    good hours, prestige, above street pay, lean teams/great learning experience, amazing exit ops

    yeah, pretty fucking sweet

  • In reply to NYKnicks92
    Anihilist's picture

    Heard from somewhere on this forum that HLHZ used to sponsor this report (or Vault to some extent). Might not be true (ever or anymore), but could be attributed to their apparent bias for them.

    People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for freedom of thought which they seldom use.

  • In reply to chemicals
    Jon258's picture

    chemicals:

    NYKnicks92:

    There's something negative said about hours or work/life balance in each of the first 6 reviews. It gets repetitive. Vault has a strange hard-on for HL and it's reflected in their rankings.

    Also, from what I've read on this sight it sounds like BX doesn't work particularly long hours since deal flow isn't that great. So that means BX analysts get the benefit of manageable hours and top prestige? Does this sound fucking sweet or am I missing something?

    good hours, prestige, above street pay, lean teams/great learning experience, amazing exit ops

    yeah, pretty fucking sweet

    How great can the learning experience be when you get crappy deal flow, especially compared to a BB? Honestly curious here.

  • In reply to Jon258
    abcdefghij's picture

    Jon258:

    chemicals:
    NYKnicks92:

    There's something negative said about hours or work/life balance in each of the first 6 reviews. It gets repetitive. Vault has a strange hard-on for HL and it's reflected in their rankings.

    Also, from what I've read on this sight it sounds like BX doesn't work particularly long hours since deal flow isn't that great. So that means BX analysts get the benefit of manageable hours and top prestige? Does this sound fucking sweet or am I missing something?

    good hours, prestige, above street pay, lean teams/great learning experience, amazing exit ops

    yeah, pretty fucking sweet

    How great can the learning experience be when you get crappy deal flow, especially compared to a BB? Honestly curious here.

    Yeah that's a fair question...I came from another boutique and the guys at my megafund from top GS/JPM groups are actually surprisingly shitty when it came to both excel modeling and investment analysis, despite supposedly having strong deal flow.

    I only closed two deals and one fairness in my two years as a banking analyst, yet when I started out I felt like I was much better prepared and comfortable with running a deal process and doing all the analytical work.

    A few possible reasons
    -BB's don't necessarily have better deal flow on a per analyst basis
    -BB analyst just crank out on templates and spend a lot of time doing bs capital markets updates rather than building real models
    -They work on massive teams with 5-10 people/multiple analysts (by comparison my deal teams were all 3-4 people, and never had more than one analyst)

    tl;dr - deal flow doesn't mean shit

  • In reply to Jon258
    chemicals's picture

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  • GentlePillow's picture