So I've gotten pretty fortunate securing internships on both the buy side and sell side of finance. One at a venture capital firm, and another in a boutique IB. However, I'm still interviewing for a few more roles (I'm outside the US, in case that confused anybody).

Some of the places I apply to identify as "corporate advisory firms/M&A firms", and others as "boutique investment banks". From what I know (and please correct me if I'm wrong), the differentiator between the two is the idea that investment banks underwrite shares, and corporate advisory firms don't.

Is that the only difference between the two? Would working for an M&A shop be seen as any less than working for a boutique IB? Do I gain the same amount of experience at both places?

Thank you

Comments (4)


Eh pretty much the same thing, especially if both are regional / non-elites. The boutique investment bank may have some underwriting capabilities, and the something specifically labeled as an M&A shops will be purely focused on advisory. That being said a boutique investment bank probably will mostly focus on advisory as well, since its hard to underwrite if you don't have much capital / distribution, even if they do list it as an offering on their website.

See if these places have any transactions on their website and you'll be able to figure out what type of transactions are the most popular (in both cases, it will be advisory)

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I'm based in Asia and as far as I know, there are no differences between corporate finance / M&A and a boutique investment bank as far as your internship experience goes. The only difference could be that for CF / M&A you may be part of a bigger bank that does lending and other traditional banking stuff but for the boutique IB, its pure advisory.

Yes you are right in that investment banks underwrite shares, but I do not think boutique investment bank does so because of their lack of balance sheet (think Evercore, Moelis, Lazard).


Appreciate the fast responses guys. That helped clarify a few things I had been wondering. SB to both.

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