Best Banks for On-Cycle Rankings

Have seen a number of posts which are grossly misleading about on-cycle so would like to provide some color on the process and how firms choose who to interview. For most MFs/UMMs, their flagship funds essentially only hire from a select number of banks/groups. Whether you like it or not, traditional prestige matters a lot for these firms. Since on-cycle occurs so early, firms have very few data points to evaluate candidates on, which only heightens the importance of your bank, group, and even undergrad university. This is not to stay you have to be at a top BB/EB to make it, only that your chances to get interviews at MF/UMM is far less likely from the lower BBs (excluding certain strong groups) and MMs.

From seeing multiple recruiting cycles and now being on the other end of things during the process, here’s how I would evaluate firms if I were purely looking for MF/UMM exits:

Tier 1A: GS, MS, Evercore, Lazard, PJT

  • These firms have the most consistent MF/UMM placements during on cycle. While I would argue that Evercore, Lazard, and PJT have the best PE exits per capita, I think it’s more based on self selection, as these are the analysts who were most prepared for recruiting in college and most likely were joining these firms because of their strong exits.
  • GS and MS are pretty self explanatory. They have the greatest total representation at the top PE firms which is always helpful.
  • Just want to note that I don’t think PJT M&A’s exits are on par with Evercore and Lazard, but PJT’s RSSG group performance is baffling. The only group on the street that seems to exclusively place into MF or distressed PE/HFs.

Tier 1B: JPM, Moelis, PWP, Centerview, Top Groups at Mid BBs

  • In the last few years on this forum there have been a lot of hype around some of the newer boutiques like PWP and Centerview which has gone overboard IMO. Yes, these are amazing platforms and are some of the greatest places to be a banker. However, given how young they are, anecdotally and from speaking with friends at these firms they’re exits don’t seem to be on par with some of the other more institutional EBs. This is likely to change to over time though, and the differences are pretty marginal so I wouldn’t worry about it.
  • JPM’s top groups exit as well as anyone else. Some of their other groups still do well but any lack of performance probably comes down to self selection rather than an inability to land interviews.
  • Top groups like BAML FSG have fantastic outcomes as well, it’s just that many of the mid BBs have some groups who don’t perform that great during on-cycle.

Tier 2: BAML, Barclays, CS, Citi
- very consistent and strong placements, but need to be in some of the stronger groups to go MF/UMM

Tier 3: Jefferies, Guggenheim, Greenhill, DB, RBC
- it’s an uphill battle to get to a MF from here but I’ve seen it happen on rare occasion. UMM is definitely possible if you’re focused and strategically concentrate on firms where you have a solid chance at landing interviews.

At the end of the day, the most important thing is still your ability to perform during interviews. Given how few spots exist, I wouldn’t have the mindset of MF or bust, even if you’re the rockstar analyst at Goldman TMT. On cycle is often a total crapshoot but it’s a long career. Good luck during on-cycle to everyone.

 

The way I would think about on-cycle is as follows:

1 - Bank

2- Group

3 -School

4- SAT/ACT

5 - GPA

That’s the rank order of importance. Traditional cache is still very important during PE recruiting. All else equal, the Harvard analyst most likely gets the nod over the analyst from Michigan. But the most important thing is your ability to perform during interviews.

 
Most Helpful

Here’s how our MF thinks about on-cycle:

  1. GS TMT/FIG, MS M&A, PJT RSSG, EVR, LAZ
  1. GS C&R/IND/HC, JPM M&A/HC, Moelis
  1. M&A at BAML/CS, PWP, Centerview

Outside of these groups, definitely an uphill battle toward landing an offer. Not impossible though

 

I would differentiate HL RX from the rest of the firm. They have solid exits into distressed PE/HF

Rothschild is one of the top banks in Europe, but haven’t seen the same level of exits in the US. Still seen a number of solid MM + some UMM in the US. For firms like Rothschild it’s important to aim for firms where you will be most competitive rather than gunning for KKR(even for GS MFs are a long shot statistically).

Honestly for WF don’t have a lot of knowledge so won’t comment on them. Have seen a lot of growth within their IB unit so maybe that means better exits over time.

 

There will be some firms who have more established pipelines from specific banks (ex. GS, Evercore, Lazard to CD&R) but I think generally the list I provided holds up. At the same time, at least with my firm, there’s no set quota of how many we are looking to hire from each firm, rather there is admittedly some bias toward the firms we want to interview from based on where current employees involved with the firm formerly worked at.

I also would say it’s important to note that any of the top MF/UMMs take up to 1/2 of their ASO class from MBB (H&F, BainCap, AEA) and this further limits the number of spots. Seeing it occur as an IB analyst myself, too many people are deadset on MF when in reality there simply aren’t enough positions for every candidate with the near perfect resume of T10 university and top BB/EB on their resume. On-cycle is a crapshoot and luck plays more of a factor than most people think.

 

Thanks for this! I’m an incoming analyst in 1B. Are there funds that exclusively hire from 1A that I should probably stay away from in the early hours of on-cycle so I don’t miss other firms? For instance, I know APO/H&F seem to be very exclusive to 1A. Are there any other prominent firms I should possibly stay away from?

 

What are the tiers within MS/GS? Assuming that weaker groups might fall into the second tier. Ex. GS HC or MS consumer wouldn’t be placing the same as EVR m&a? 

 

How much of a difference is there once you get to the interview tho? For example, let’s say GS TMT vs CR - would the CR analyst need to outperform the TMT analyst drastically?

 

At a MF and groups don’t matter as nearly as you guys think it does. Contrary to popular belief, people don’t compare the GS TMT analyst vs. GS Healthcare analyst and say wow, i 100% need to take the TMT analyst (obvi diff story is real estate vs. traditional coverage group or product group vs. coverage). The most important aspects of getting interviews is bank -> school / gpa -> group / experiences. Obviously the big overlay on all of this is diversity 

 

Wouldn’t have a shot at an MF. The most common land would be MM PE with shots at UMM.

 

Prospect in IB - Gen

Are there diversity processes for first-gen college students (non-URM)?

Moelis LDP I believe, could have changed tho

 

If it's helpful, I think OP already addressed some of the differences between EBs and top groups at BBs (including JPM) in an earlier comment.

 

Previously interned in Chicago MM PE, going to GHL CHI / Lazard CHI FT - What are my prospects?

 

Coverage at Barclays vs. BofA probably would be a bit different. I believe Barclays does modeling within the coverage groups — M&A handles most modeling except for REGL, FIG at BofA

 

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