5 Differences Between East Coast and West Coast Finance

West Coast FX's picture
Rank: Baboon | 124

I'm commonly asked what investment management firms are like on the West Coast, whenever I meet people in the industry from the east. The northeast (New York, Connecticut and Boston) is obviously the Mecca of finance in the US. But there are also many finance firms dispersed throughout the rest of the country. These are five general differences between the IM industry of the East Coast vs. the West Coast. Keep in mind, these are generalizations derived from my experiences in the west and pertain mostly to asset managers.

West Coast is more Buyside, East Coast is Both

Whereas the northeast has virtually every type of finance firm imaginable, firms on the West Coast are typically buyside. There are plenty of investment managers in the New York area, but California is home to some of the largest fund companies. PIMCO, Western Asset, and BlackRock Global Investors are all headquartered in California, to name a few. Not to mention, Northern California is the place to be for Venture Capital. This isn't to say investment banks don't have offices on the West Coast, but almost none of the largest ones (unless you count WF) are headquartered there.

Not as Impressed in the West

It's a generalization, but it seems like many people on the West Coast are only overly impressed by people in the entertainment industry. In other words, for many westerners outside of the finance industry... A trader or investment banker can seem to carry as much buzz as any other office worker.

"West Coast Discount"

Not sure how true it is, but it's rumored west coast firms can pay less because they think the quality of life (i.e. weather) is better. I'm guessing this isn't true for VC firms but for mutual fund companies it seems possible.

Market Hours

This one's obvious- market hours on the West Coast are three hours earlier, which means you have to wake up three hours earlier and go to sleep three hours earlier. Even if you're a morning person, this schedule makes it difficult to go out on weeknights. Many people stay in on weeknights and are forced to become weekend warriors.

Work Environment

It's definitely seems true the work atmosphere is more laid back in the west. Of the three firms I've worked at, none have required wearing suits/ties. People that have worked on both coasts have remarked that it seems more cutthroat in the east. There are exceptions however- I hear one of the larger Southern California investment managers is particularly brutal.

Comments (125)

Sep 13, 2012

you mean best coast?

Best Response
Sep 13, 2012

are the arrows wrong in the pic?

Money Never Sleeps? More like Money Never SUCKS amirite?!?!?!?

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Sep 13, 2012
sayandarula:

are the arrows wrong in the pic?

Not if you're in China.

Sep 13, 2012
West Coast FX:

Many people stay in on weeknights and are forced to become weekend warriors.

you mean...Wall Street warriors?

Sep 13, 2012

I heard PIMCO's working culture is brutal

Are there any decent finance/IM related jobs where you don't have to get in so early? Anything after 6AM?

Born in hell, forged from suffering, hardened by pain.

Sep 13, 2012
brianklk:

I heard PIMCO's working culture is brutal

Are there any decent finance/IM related jobs where you don't have to get in so early? Anything after 6AM?

You can do VC, Fixed Asset Management, or work for a F500

Personal wealth is not how much you have in the bank or the worth of your portfolio. But, rather how you've used the wealth to make your life and those around you better.

Sep 13, 2012
Saul_Villa:
brianklk:

I heard PIMCO's working culture is brutal

Are there any decent finance/IM related jobs where you don't have to get in so early? Anything after 6AM?

You can do VC, Fixed Asset Management, or work for a F500

which fixed income asset management specifically?
places like PIMCO?

Born in hell, forged from suffering, hardened by pain.

Sep 13, 2012

The night life one really comes down to if you get out of work early enough. I used to get out at about 3pm, so
I would go home, go to sleep and then wake up around 9 or 10 and get my day started. The weirdest part used to be explaining to my friends that I had to sober up to get home and get ready because I started work at 5am.

Personal wealth is not how much you have in the bank or the worth of your portfolio. But, rather how you've used the wealth to make your life and those around you better.

Sep 13, 2012

Cool to see a thread on this. Long term goal is West Coast IM - Dodge & Cox and Capital Group are on my short list of dream jobs, maybe PIMCO too (I love the firm, but I don't have enough info on their new equities business to comment on it). I am also a big fan of some of the HFs out there - unfortunately, most are on the small side, and they are fewer in number than on the East Coast. Recruiting will be tough.

I will echo West Coast FX: nobody is impressed by finance out there. Working at Google/FB/Apple will get you a lot of recognition, even if you are in some godforsaken back office role. Same with entertainment down in LA. A dude in accounts payable at Warner Brothers will impress more girls than a banker at CS LA.

People just aren't as knowledgeable about finance. In NYC, most people have at least a rough idea of what an investment bank does. If you ask a random person in SF, you'll be lucky if they (incorrectly) guess "Invest". More likely, they'll accuse the banks of robbing people.

Sep 13, 2012
West Coast rainmaker:

If you ask a random person in SF, you'll be lucky if they (incorrectly) guess "Invest". More likely, they'll accuse the banks of robbing people.

they don't?

Sep 13, 2012

Decent list, though I disagree that everyone on the West Coast cares about the entertainment industry. While I think that's true for LA and surrounding parts of SoCal, it's def not true for the Bay Area and the Valley. There, you're more likely to get notoriety working for a tech startup or large high technology firm.

Sep 13, 2012

I will echo that nobody is impressed with you if you work in finance. In Southern California, it's entertainment. In Northern California, it's technology. In Oregon, it's Nike. In Washington, it's Microsoft and to some extent Starbucks.

I'll add another one:

When talking about finance (excluding corporate finance), "West Coast" basically means California. Outside of Russell Investments, some small investment banks, and a small number of hedge funds, there isn't a whole lot going on in Oregon or Washington.

Sep 14, 2012

And, to be even more specific, you're probably talking about Greater Los Angeles or Greater San Francisco.

Sep 14, 2012
pdxshortseller:

I will echo that nobody is impressed with you if you work in finance. In Southern California, it's entertainment. In Northern California, it's technology. In Oregon, it's Nike. In Washington, it's Microsoft and to some extent Starbucks.

I'll add another one:

When talking about finance (excluding corporate finance), "West Coast" basically means California. Outside of Russell Investments, some small investment banks, and a small number of hedge funds, there isn't a whole lot going on in Oregon or Washington.

Amazon in washington would like a word with you.

Anyways I agree with most of the OP as a westcoast native. No one in college really even knew what IBD did or difference between PE and HF. Talk to any girls at the bars, they only know of wallstreet stuff cuz of the sub prime mortgage, but before that no know knew wtf WS ppl do.

Strongly agree about culture and attitude, California especially seemed to feel a lot more laid back and chill, while NYC is more cut throat.

Sep 14, 2012

claremont mckenna has a decent MSF on the west coast -- idk about any of the others over there though

Sep 14, 2012

Found this the other day when looking for information on MSF programs. I got it from another thread in this forum. http://msfhq.com/
GL

Sep 14, 2012
AnonIcelandicBanker:

Found this the other day when looking for information on MSF programs. I got it from another thread in this forum. http://msfhq.com/
GL

I met the guy that created that site once...good dude and taller than I thought he would be

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

Sep 14, 2012

MSF course in claremont mckenna is relatively new, and while I was doing my summer internship at a leading MM firm, I heard from the bankers there that they usually weed MSF candidates from CM out because they don't give credit to the program. I know nothing about the program or how good it is, just relaying what I heard to people out there.

In the case of West coast vs east coast, I would say competition is just as stiff on both coasts. On the east, you have more competition from ivy leaguers and top schools like MIT and NW, but there are more spots available too. On the west coast, the perceived competition is lower, but 1) there are fewer spots (i was recruiting full time for 1 or 2 spots per bank), and 2) they interview kids from east coast schools as well (i met people from ivy league and georgetown, etc in my superdays)

go where you wanna go, in terms of fit, industry preference, etc. if you want to do tech, biotech, etc, west coast (i.e. silicon valley) should be exciting for you. East coast (i.e. NYC) is obviously more conducive and finance oriented and you'll build great contacts and lot of opportunities. Just though I'd share some of my recruiting experiences with you, since I'm an international student as well.

Sep 14, 2012
ZIRH:

MSF course in claremont mckenna is relatively new, and while I was doing my summer internship at a leading MM firm, I heard from the bankers there that they usually weed MSF candidates from CM out because they don't give credit to the program. I know nothing about the program or how good it is, just relaying what I heard to people out there.

In the case of West coast vs east coast, I would say competition is just as stiff on both coasts. On the east, you have more competition from ivy leaguers and top schools like MIT and NW, but there are more spots available too. On the west coast, the perceived competition is lower, but 1) there are fewer spots (i was recruiting full time for 1 or 2 spots per bank), and 2) they interview kids from east coast schools as well (i met people from ivy league and georgetown, etc in my superdays)

go where you wanna go, in terms of fit, industry preference, etc. if you want to do tech, biotech, etc, west coast (i.e. silicon valley) should be exciting for you. East coast (i.e. NYC) is obviously more conducive and finance oriented and you'll build great contacts and lot of opportunities. Just though I'd share some of my recruiting experiences with you, since I'm an international student as well.

i agree with the above poster.

i've worked both west coast and east coast, and am familiar with program at claremont mckenna, and can confirm what zirm says. if you want to do finance, it is a bad move to go to the west coast, particularly to a relatively new program. west coast isn't a finance powerhouse. there is vcs and tech banking, but those are extremely competitive to get into, easily as difficult if not more than positions in new york. in socal, there is some coverage banking and historically, there has been a good deal of fixed income activity with drexel, PIMCO, and what not. still, the amount of finance activity in the west coast isn't a shadow of what it is in new york.

pm me if you want more details.

Sep 14, 2012

There's just more stuff on the East Coast. Thought the West Coast might be closer to home, I would go East Coast.

Sep 14, 2012

CMC is the best West Coast MSF, hands down.

The program is legit. Very high standards to get in and the placements are top notch. No weeding out going on with this program.

http://www.claremontmckenna.edu/mastersinfinance/c...
That doesn't look like shitty placements now does it?

www.MSFHQ.com - For all your MSF needs lol

Sep 14, 2012

just reflecting the sentiments of the bankers I worked with over summer and during recruiting... like i said, i don't know much about the quality of the program, OP gotta go do his own research and determine for himself.

Sep 14, 2012

I'm not on the East Cost or even working full time, but I am doing REPE and my hours are 9-5. Then again, I work part time for a two-man firm, so I may not be the most relevant data point.

Sep 14, 2012

That thing is retarded, but real estate is definitely more relaxed at most firms, but not all.

Sep 14, 2012

I don't know if you can really generalize on either coast. It all depends on the firm and its culture. Colony Capital is a big time shop out west and the guys there work a ton. CIM is another west coast firm and they hire a lot of ex-bankers. While they won't work banking hours, it's not 9-5 either and I'm not sure I'd call it a "laid back" culture.

Sep 14, 2012

what about Blackstone Real Estate PE: pretty much the same as PE in terms of rigidity? or more relaxed?

Sep 14, 2012

Generally, REPE is not as high-strung as vanilla PE. However, some groups are - CIM Group is a good example.

I worked the acquisitions side of the business and my hours were typically 60-70, with the rare occasion of working up to 80 or more.

Sep 14, 2012

Sounds about right for a smaller REPE firm. I work for a small shop and usually work ~ 60 hours/week, rarely do I stay in the office past 8pm. Larger PE firms, especially not in RE, usually demand longer hours.

Sep 14, 2012

REPE hours at my firm are pretty reasonable 80% of the time, but then there are times (2 week bursts) when I'm spending 15 hours a day at the office regularly and also flying all over the country taking investors to projects and shit on the side of my usual acquisitions related duties... sigh. I'm not sure about coast to coast in the states, but I'm in China - and shit can get pretty hectic here around deal closing. Particularly if you're working on co-investment deals or one-offs and you've gotta simultaneously underwrite the investment, close the deal and work with fundraising team (internationally... conference calls at midnight anyone?)

Sep 14, 2012

I can't speak to IB careers, but I chose Seattle. Overall good culture, cheap cost of living, robust tech scene and the salaries were very close - I'm not sure how that works.

Sep 14, 2012

SF is huge on tech and VC if that's what you're interested in. Salary is also (maybe?) better when comparing standard of living.

Sep 14, 2012

LA does a ton of media, consumer retail, and healthcare in general

Sep 14, 2012

West Coast is getting expensive. Add in MMJ, and new industries, more people are moving out here. Even in Denver it's getting pretty high. Already seeing $2K+ apartments in downtown when it use to be $900-$1500. Stay out East, easier to get around.

Greed is Good!

Sep 14, 2012

If rent is an issue, you can live a little bit out of town and still get decent prices. You can still find 1BR's in Nob Hill and some other pretty decent SF neighborhoods for around $1,000/mo. And of course even cheaper if you're open to the roommate/housemate thing.

It's really only an issue if you have some low/average-paying job and consequently end up pricing yourself out of many neighborhoods. But many people go to certain cities for the fact they're making a lot more there than they would elsewhere.

If you're making $120K in NY/SF and can only make $50K in some low-paying market like Minneapolis/Cleveland/Salt Lake, and your cost of living is $60K versus $40K, respectively, you're still a hell of a lot better off in NY/SF than you would be in the other places where you're not saving shit because your salary is so low.

For New York, again, it's not a big deal if you go to the right place. Lower Manhattan or Park Avenue might not work. But who cares? Go to New Rochelle, Queens, Long Island, etc.

As for the finance-related aspects, there are a lot more jobs in NY. Ideally go to the one you prefer. If you prefer SF, though, there could be a chance the better opportunity might be in NY just as a matter of where the most jobs happen to be.

Sep 14, 2012

Yeah I dont know where you are getting that from. A studio in the Tenderloin is like $1600+

May 5, 2018

hot or cold

Sep 14, 2012

Btw, if you want your own room but don't mind 1-2 housemates, consider renting just a room. Often possible to get sub-$1,200 that way along with access to a kitchen, living room space, etc.

Sep 14, 2012

To answer OP's question:

The benefits of starting on the west coast are if there's a particular industry that is centered around there (TMT, some HC and RE are big out there as well). Additionally, if you know you want to be on the west coast long term it makes sense to start there. Everyone just prefers NYC because of the amount of exit ops (not saying there aren't any exit ops on the west coast, but there are just exponentially more in the east). Also depending on the bank, you get way more exposure, and a majority of deals are executed out of a banks NYC office (there is a chance you get stuck pitching a lot in a satellite office).

Sep 14, 2012

Everyone will tell you to network. If your school is on the East Coast then I would assume you would have better opportunities there, but you will have to network with a 3.3 from a non-target. It's not impossible....you just have to want it bad enough...

Good luck .

Sep 14, 2012

West coast has less spots available as compared to NYC and even the biggest BBs only hire about 10 new analysts for one office. U'll be competing w the target schools in the west coast ( Stanford,UCB, USC and UCLA, with Claremont and Pomona rounding out the liberal arts schools). New York has a bigger analyst class and u're usually hired as a generalist and undergo sell day to find out which group u work for (barcap NYC analysts r currently in training and trying to get placements into their top groups)

I would say the odds r similar, networking will tip the tide in ur favor and ultimately be the most impt factor in u getting interviews.

Sep 14, 2012

If your are adamantt on wanting to work in LA or San Francisco, you'll have no trouble finding a job in either of those two places if you go to a target school in the West (Stanford, UC Berkley, UCLA, etc.) Even schools that are traditionally considered non-targets give you good prospects in the West (i.e UC San Diego, Riverside, UW, etc.)

However, if you attend a target school in the East, your odds of getting a job in the West are still great, and you have the added benefit of East Coast recruiting. My advice would be that if you can go to a target school in the East for relatively cheap, you should go there, unless you get accepted in Stanford or UCLA (UC Berkley technically also counts but I consider it to be a shithole of a school, social-wise, if that matters to you.) If you can't make it to a target school in the East or West, you are better off attending a non-target in the West, if you want to work in the West.

Regarding compensation, pay is generally better in NY versus California. You should also take into consideration that San Francisco is practically as expensive as NY today, and it will likely become even more expensive in the future. As for career mobility, of course getting a job at a East Coast BB is optimal, but you will still have plenty of opportunities if you do BB/VC in the West.

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Sep 14, 2012

east coast is beast coast

west coast is best coast

Sep 14, 2012

the reason this forum favors EC is because that's where the majority of finance jobs are (NYC). there's a bigger finance job market in the east, but it doesn't make it any better than the west. live where you wanna live bro

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Sep 14, 2012

Doubtful, other than the location of the exit opps. I'm moderately familiar with the west coast MBB offices, so shoot me a PM if you have questions about them.

Sep 14, 2012

What is the answer to 99 out of 100 questions?

Sep 14, 2012

Hours could be slightly better on the West coast.
Pay is exactly the same.
Atmosphere is often a little more laid back on the west coast - but not at all offices (ML LA is terrible, UBS LA has longer hours than any of their other offices).

Sep 14, 2012

I know friends that have had even more difficult hours than their east coast coworkers because they work just as late, and senior people on the east coast expect them to be working first thing in the morning east coast time which can make for some very early mornings.

Sep 14, 2012

I work for a company based in the West Coast (Santa Monica, Cali). Our NY office is much smaller (1/10th the size) and much more laid back than their office. However, West Coast weather is better, but the people in LA are far, far worse to deal with on a day to day basis. The cost of living is about the same. If its an issue of where to work, definately stay in the East Coast.

Sep 14, 2012

I got a Nazi flag hanging out my backside, on the left side, yeah that's the Third Reich side.

Sep 14, 2012

You sir, are a trailblazer.

Sep 14, 2012

unless there are some West Coast PE guys on here, I'd try setting up informational interviews, and I'd lean on your school's career resources. I wasn't a business major but there were certain resources that I was able to use (with enough shmoozing).

as far as West Coast yielding less opportunities, I'd imagine that the trade off in comp is minimal, SF & LA have such high costs of living, they'd have to pay similar or close to NYC. plus, if your quality of life is going to be better, it might be worth it to make 10 or 20% less. I grew up at the beach, so I know where you're coming from, you should definitely be willing to sacrifice a little bit of your salary to have that.

Sep 14, 2012

Can you pick up a second major?

Sep 14, 2012

Major doesn't really mean anything, just be sure to get some finance internships/experience under your belt. Join the finance club and start gunning for internships. Coming from Stanford with a 4.0 in anything and you'll be fine.

Sep 14, 2012
mrharveyspecter:

Major doesn't really mean anything, just be sure to get some finance internships/experience under your belt. Join the finance club and start gunning for internships. Coming from Stanford with a 4.0 in anything and you'll be fine.

I'm not sure I agree with this. People will realize you are smart with your GPA/Stanford. That said, it raises a big red flag - if you are that smart and want finance, why did you choose what is known to be one of the easiest possible majors? Are you someone who always takes the easy path, or do you push yourself whenever possible to get better?

I know that you explained here that you were thinking law school, but you will get asked about this in interviews. I was actively involved in IB recruiting for a BB, both on-campus and final rounds. You would have to have blown me away with everything else to get me to overlook your psych major. You may face a bigger uphill battle than necessary. Getting a second major or minor would be a good way to address this.

Sep 14, 2012

why would west coast mean less pay and more hours. in my experience, west coast culture is a lot more laid back and the hours are much better than the east coast

Sep 14, 2012

^

To the above two posters. Yes I would agree that psychology is a soft major; however, in terms of recruiting for banking major is fairly insignificant, especially coming from a top school with a fantastic GPA. Coming from a top LAC I've known guys to make it who were english majors. Hell, last year when I interned at a BB, there was a kid who sat next to me who was working in M&A who was an english major from Harvard.

I understand that these are exceptions to the rule, but the reality is that excel and powerpoint aren't rocket science and someone who can prove that 1. They are intelligent (4.0 from Stanford proves that) 2. Can prove they are motivated and interested in finance (internships will do that) and 3. Can tap the Stanford alumni network will have no issues getting into Finance.

Plus if asked about it in interviews OP can always just say he always liked Psychology and wanted to be a lawyer and then fell in love with Finance. As long as a candidate is answering the technical questions right in interviews it won't make any difference.

Sep 14, 2012

IMO an English major is far more relevant to business than Psychology, and likely more difficult as a course of study. Being able to write and communicate your ideas effectively is a huge asset, and reading comprehension is important as well. I've encountered quite a few English majors from top schools who are in senior positions, and I can't really say the same about psychology. English gets shit on as a major but communication skills are invaluable regardless of your line of work. Knowing Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs isn't going to help you at a BB, unless you're coming to the conclusion that you won't reach self-actualization as an excel monkey.

"You rarely have time for everything you want in this life, so you need to make choices. And hopefully your choices can come from a deep sense of who you are." - Mister Rogers

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Sep 14, 2012

Irrespective of anecdotal stories of success, he is still in school and can either change majors or pick up the minor. I don't think you would disagree that he would be better off doing that than staying in psychology.

I personally wouldn't even give him an interview, for no other reason than the disconnect between shelling out +200k and selecting the major with some of the lowest ROI and employment stats in the country... outside of maybe pottery. That's not even talking about the stacks of finance degrees from target schools, let alone engineering graduates who've had a change of heart as well and are competing for the same job.

It's like fumbling in the red zone. To your point, he'll probably be fine either way because Stanford is an excellent brand.

Sep 14, 2012

Maybe I'm wrong and just a silly non-Ivy but I've always been under the impression that Ivy's outside of Wharton don't have a business undergrad degree (Cornell has something weird like a hospitality degree that offers business courses). That's why there's so many Harvard history majors working on Wall St.

But I'd pick up a business minor or economics at least. I started out as a liberal arts major and then realized it wasn't getting me a job so I picked up a double major with finance and busted my ass in the summers and adding extra courses during the year to attain it.

Sep 14, 2012

I think the closest he can get is to major in Economics.

Sep 14, 2012

I don't have much to say on topic, but a lot of posters are sounding pretty ridiculous. It sounds like you've had a finance related internship. You have a 4.0 from arguably the hottest school in the country right now and definitely a target school for many financial institutions. Definitely keep trying to build out your resume with finance activities, but if you have a decent story for your major/why finance instead of law then your major will not be an issue. What also might be relevant is the fact that Stanford is an LAC and therefore not about "ROI." I think that whole concept is very much overrated when it comes to kids at target. You don't have to have an undergraduate major in exactly what your profession will be in. If you have a proven transcript that shows some sort of quantitative abilities then you will be fine.

Also definitely try to stretch your network out to talk to people who have been in your situation. I don't know if you're in a fraternity or something, but I do know that a lot of kids at Stanford who are interested in finance work in the Bay Area, and are probably interested in HF or PE exits from their banking gigs. (I think IBD/AM is way more common among stanford students than S&T)

Regarding PE firms that hire straight out of undergrad, unless you get an offer from a top MF, it is probably better to try to break in from a solid IBD position.

Don't let anyone deter you based on your major, etc. If you network a little, people are not scared to forward resumes that have 4.0 and Stanford on them. Talk to alums, talk to kids who are recruiting for finance, I think you'll get some looks.

Good luck

Sep 14, 2012

Spot on

Sep 14, 2012

To directly answer your question: on the West coast it would be unlikely. There are very, very few great buy-side gigs available to undergrads. SLP, TPG, and LGP are the only places I can think of, and those positions generally go to the most impressive Wharton grads. Guys graduating summa from Fischer, gals who worked at BX RX as sophomores, that sort of thing. While your 4.0 is impressive, it is in a joke major at a school known for its grade inflation. (Stanford is a wonderful school but the cliche about how it's "hard to get in, easy to graduate" holds a lot of truth, at least in my resume-review experience.)

This information isn't meant to discourage you, just to give you a more realistic idea of how competitive you are. I'd look to the East coast as well if you're gung-ho about buy-side out of undergrad, or just take that 4.0 and convert it into a BB IBD job like everyone else.

KKR will still be around 3 years from now.

Sep 14, 2012

I'm not going to do your paper. Its tough to say. I'd say hope on VentureSource to pinpoint specific companies. I think partners' domain expertise is definitely something that you should explore in this trend you are hoping to substantiate on East vs. West - Domain expertise and board representation in specific cos/sectors will lead to deal sourcing capabilities and eventually actual investments. As a super generalization (enough to be potentially wrong) east coast will do more early-stage financial technology vs. WC for obv reasons. If you're in the Bay Area you are very plugged in to everything, esp social and clean. I think this covers initial transactions and follow-ons. Second, where are your exits? Not that you have to be in the same building as your future strategic acquirers, but it helps if you bumped into the head of Corp Dev of XYZ Large-Cap Tech Co. last week at the Lavanda Wine Bar on University Ave in Palo Alto (yes bad example).

May 5, 2018

live and work where you will enjoy yourself and everything will work out for the best

May 5, 2018

Sounds like you are at GS TMT SF. They are great and place well on the west coast.

You might want to think about whether you want to work on a narrow vertical of industries; SF primary exits etc.

If you are at a UBS / CS LA Generalist then there are some better opps to work across a wider variety of industries / products.

Don't let people say NY is for sure better than top west coast groups. I worked westcoast for a summer and NY for FT and honestly the experience I got on the west coast was definetely comparable. Worked on massive deals etc (worked at what I think was the top west coast office - UBS LA).

The value added of being in NY is the networking - to me that's the primary trade off. GS TMT, MS Tech M&A, UBS / CS LA all provide comparable exits and experience compared to NY offices.

If you are at GS / MS LA I'd try to leverage to NY unless you love LA.

May 5, 2018

It's tough because I like both locations, and I'd enjoy (as much as I can that is) them both while working full-time.

My only concern was that I wouldn't be able to fly to NY for interviews while working full-time in California. Westcoasting, I'd like to PM you if you don't mind. I'd also love to hear what others have to say. Thanks!

May 5, 2018

PM me.

May 5, 2018

Agree with Westcoasting. If you're at UBS LA, which I do not get the impression is the bank you're headed to (because no one would ever tell you to go to UBS NY over LA), then you will have just as good, and arguably better, exit ops as the kids in the top groups at MS and GS in New York. The only difference is that you would be headed to KKR Menlo Park with George Roberts rather than KKR NYC with Henry Kravis, H&F in San Francisco as opposed to NYC, Ares in LA as opposed to NYC, etc. And even then, they still have very good placement outside of Cali, with kids going to Centerbridge and Wasserstein in NY, and MDP and Code Hennessy in Chicago.

Besides that, MS, GS, and CS LA are all great on the West Coast. Specifically, I would say that MS Tech in Menlo, GS TMT in SF, and CS LA Generalist are all better than the vast majority of those banks' groups in NYC. Also, not quite on the same level of the aforementioned groups, but still better than most in NYC are CS Tech, GS LevFin, and of course MS M&A, Sponsors, and RE.

I think where the whole NYC > West Coast thing comes into play is only with all the other guys (JPM, Citi, Leh, Lazard, everyone else), where the deal flow is minimal and they have been edged out by the bigger players. Like Westcoasting, I also summered on the West Coast and really enjoyed my time there. The people were great and the weather clearly beat NY. The only thing I would say NY definitely has on the West Coast is the infinitely superior energy in Manhattan, the subway, the food, and, maybe most importantly, the nightlife.

May 5, 2018

I also agree with Prescott and Westcoasting. UBS LA is definitely considered the top office on the West Coast, and it is by far better than UBS NY, in which case you should not be moving (within the firm). Similar argument goes for cs la which is better than cs ny.

Though MS and GS are great firms even on the west coast and have some top groups out there, I would say the SAME group in nyc would offer better experience, networking, and exit opps (as with most other firms).

May 5, 2018
Mr. White:

Though MS and GS are great firms even on the west coast and have some top groups out there, I would say the SAME group in nyc would offer better experience, networking, and exit opps (as with most other firms).

With the exception of MS Tech, I completely agree that the same group in nyc would offer better all of the above than in Cali. But the thing is that MS and GS West Coast don't have close to all the groups that are in NYC. Instead, as luck would have it,most of the groups they have are what most would consider the top groups to be in.

For instance, MS SF only has M&A, Sponsors, and RE, and I know GS hires most analysts into their TMT and LevFin groups in SF and LA. Therefore, imo, the average West Coast analyst will actually see a slightly better experience than the average analyst at NYC, simply because the majority of kids in NYC are in other groups that most would not consider as being on par with those listed above. But honestly, any difference would be minimal, and it really just depends what group you're into and how you get along with the people, as the experience will really just be what you make of it.

And ibd slayer, unless you plan on joining Teach For America or the Peace Corps or something, unfortunately just doing the analyst stint alone will not get you into HBS/GSB/Wharton/CBS, if that's where you're aiming at, and will still most likely give you trouble even if you want to go somewhere not quite as competitive. That being said, I am not familiar with your background so I don't want to tell you it would be impossible. Just want to make sure you know that the odds are generally stacked against analysts who just try to do their two years and then head off to get their mba at a top program.

May 5, 2018

I'm leaning more and more towards staying in California. I was actually thinking about doing MBA after my analyst stint. I'm assuming that for business school, the disparity in networking opportunities will not be a factor.

May 5, 2018

prescott what do people usually have to do after their analyst stint in order to get into those top programs?

May 5, 2018

Nowadays, the vast majority of analysts from top banks and groups are heading over to the buy-side to take up pre-mba associate positions before leaving for b-school.

May 5, 2018

That's not entirely true that you can't go to HBS/Wharton/etc. after a 2 year analyst stint...Harvard, Wharton, and Stanford are increasingly looking to recruit younger candidates.

Also, if a top b-school is your goal and you want to go after 2 years of banking, you are best off going to one of the top boutiques (Blackstone, Greenhill, Lazard) since you that makes you a more "unique" candidate (stupid I know, but true). I believe, but am not certain, that a good chunk of people from the three aforementioned place land in HBS/Wharton/Stanford after just 2 years as an analyst. I'm not sure if working in a top regional office like UBS LA or CS LA would afford you that same brand and uniqueness cache with business school admissions (I'm not sure if they know that UBS LA is any better than any other regional office, and regard its analysts as somehow separate from UBS analysts. My guess is that you'd be considered a general UBS analyst, although of course having worked in the LA office would help for job recruiting post business school.)

May 5, 2018

Although my school happens to be a target, few kids here know anything about career paths in finance. I for one was considering PhD as a postgraduate option until very recently. It really helps to hear from people who have been in the industry.

And one more question, I have a friend doing Citi summer analyst. What are the top groups at Citi? Thanks.

May 5, 2018
JDimon:

Where would you rather live in the USA. Discuss.

California with air conditioning circa 1925. Wouldn't live in California for almost anything now. Although, the Mid-Atlantic is kind of meh.

May 5, 2018

West Coast by far.

May 5, 2018

I'd love to live in Cali if it wasn't for the people. :)

May 5, 2018
D M:

I'd love to live in Cali if it wasn't for the people. :)

If you are trying to claim that people in NY are better than CA that is just laughable. There are a lot of reasons to argue NY being better but people is definitely not one of them.

May 5, 2018

I was not trying to claim that. Though I far prefer people in NYC to those in LA.

May 5, 2018
ke18sb:
D M:

I'd love to live in Cali if it wasn't for the people. :)

If you are trying to claim that people in NY are better than CA that is just laughable. There are a lot of reasons to argue NY being better but people is definitely not one of them.

Does the east coast revolve around NYC?

May 5, 2018

Refer to the diamond map: San Fran / Austin / New York / Chicago

May 5, 2018

Boston/San Diego

Follow the shit your fellow monkeys say @shitWSOsays

Life is hard, it's even harder when you're stupid - John Wayne

May 5, 2018

California in the early 60s must have been pretty damn awesome.

May 5, 2018

Chicago

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May 5, 2018

Too vague, the west coast and east coast both are diverse in what they offer. For instance if you asked me between living in the SF Bay Area versus Jacksonville, FL, I'd obviously pick the "west coast option." But if you asked if I'd rather live in Eureka, CA or DC, I'd definitely pick the East Coast.

"Yes. Money has been a little bit tight lately, but at the end of my life, when I'm sitting on my yacht, am I gonna be thinking about how much money I have? No. I'm gonna be thinking about how many friends I have and my children and my comedy albums."

May 5, 2018
SilvioBerlusconi:

Too vague, the west coast and east coast both are diverse in what they offer. For instance if you asked me between living in the SF Bay Area versus Jacksonville, FL, I'd obviously pick the "west coast option." But if you asked if I'd rather live in Eureka, CA or DC, I'd definitely pick the East Coast.

True. Or, you can interpret as your favorite city in the west coast versus your favorite city in the east coast.

May 5, 2018

Neither, head to the South and never look back.

May 5, 2018
Texas Tea:

Neither, head to South and never look back.

For subpar schools, weather, demographic trends, health, and overall quality of life?

Sure.

May 5, 2018

For nicer people and a more enjoyable and laid back lifestyle; no one cares if you were a summer analyst at the Goldman Sachs.

May 5, 2018

If it wasn't for the extremely early market open, I would prefer San Fran to NYC. LA is not for me in almost every possible way except the weather. If there were more opportunities, I would probably move to Miami or Austin over any of the above.

May 5, 2018
holla_back:
Texas Tea:

Neither, head to South and never look back.

For subpar schools, weather, demographic trends, health, and overall quality of life?

Sure.

The weather, demographic trends and cost of living are all far better in the southeast United States than in most of the country.

May 5, 2018
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