Buy-Side or Sell-Side?

Hey guys, I am an incoming first-year. I know for a fact I want to work in the financial services industry. However, I can't decide which specific aspect to aim for. I have a basic overview of HFIB, and PE. Ideally, I want to break into the top companies of each category, so BB for IB and Blackstone kind of companies for PE. Is one industry more prestigious over the other, and how can I gear myself to break into each specific sector? For reference, I will be attending Stern (From my understanding of the data tables on WSO and Peakframeworks, Stern should put in a good spot for any of them, right? It was second for IB, 4/5 for Hedge Funds, and somewhere around 6/7 for PE.) in the fall. Also, which one will help me get into a top business school? I want to apply for one of the M7 and use Stern as a fallback because of the NYUxNYU program.

Comments (2)

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Feb 9, 2022 - 8:24pm
TimesNewMoney, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Inb4 some Ivy League douche turns this into a flame war about Stern not being good for PE recruiting because it isn't Wharton.

But also, if you are really that set on working for a Top 10 firm and want to do PE, in all practicality you'll have to go through 1-2 years of a top IB to get there. That is the benefit of IB. If you go straight to middle-tier PE, it might be harder to up-tier down the line. Easier to go from BB M&A or a top coverage group to a Mega-Fund than it is to go from a $2-10B PE shop to a PE Mega-Fund, as weird as that is.

General wisdom though, fuck off with the prestige chasing. It wont get you anywhere and most of the top IB groups and PE firms will make your lifestyle an absolute living hell. If you were someone who was well disposed to deal with that your grades would have gotten you into Harvard and not NYU. That aside, when choosing between buy side or sell side the main difference I would say exists is that IB is very much a client-service job at the junior level. You spend most of your time requesting data from clients that rarely give you what you need then grill the shit out of you on taking to long to go to market. In PE you're an investor and it isn't your job to manage a client and secure them THEIR best outcome regardless of how shitty their company is and how hard to deal with they are. If a deal sucks or the company is a mess, you just go pencils down and walk away. You're the one with the check-book, you control the process (to an extent - competitive processes push things further out of your control in terms of deal tempo, valuation, structure, etc.) That is to say, dealing with clients sucks and you should do PE. It's simply the more enjoyable angle to come at a deal; truly analyzing it on its merits and discerning the truth versus having to constantly upsell bullshit.

Feb 9, 2022 - 8:46pm
PlzGiveInternship, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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