1st year analyst at a BB, group placement went well for me last summer and I got into one of the top groups. Not a GS TMT/MS M&A kind of group, but my group is consistently top of the street in our coverage area. Loved the experience over the summer, loving it so far as well. Really good culture where the seniors seem to value our time, and because they're pretty well respected people in the industry they don't go into meetings with 100 page books trying to impress the client, so we end up with a lot less meaningless work. Not that we don't have long hours, but they're exclusively on stuff that matters. What I'm trying to say is this is about as perfect a balance as you can strike between a top group with great deal flow and simultaneously not a terrible lifestyle.
Everyone of the juniors leaves for PE, and I had kind of always assumed that was the next step because it would be foolish to waste the good opportunity now as an analyst, but starting to question whether PE will truly be better. People talk about moving for better hours or more interesting work, I feel like I already have a pretty decent balance of that and leaving opens me up to an unknown: what if the fund I land at doesn't have as good a culture? But at the same time, compensation could be multiples higher as a successful PE partner than for a successful banking MD.
How would you guys go about thinking through the decision to leave for PE or stay in banking? Whichever route I go, I enjoy the industry enough (in my limited time) that I really could see myself wanting to stay for life, so that's why this decision feels important to get right.