Fall of William Blair

Need to start a thread on this. Just saw another tech MD left for BGL, which is clearly saying something. ~3 MDs left for Gugg in the last 2 years, Baird took their head of MedTech, and that’s just the churn at the senior level. The junior level is just as bad. They laid off ~30% of all IBD, including first year analysts. They gave 65% return rates to the interns this summer. Feel free to add to this list if I missed anything, but seems like Blair is a violently sinking ship. Can anyone comment on deal flow?


Any insight on what set this off? Blair was heralded as the greatest thing since sliced bread 12-24 months ago on the forums. The partnership model, hours, WLB and comp were all supposedly top notch. 

What changed? Just lost a few good MDs to EBs? Were they not comping the guys at the top enough? Maybe they've been hit extra hard or had an extra wind at their back for a while because their core strength was Tech? 


Not throwing blame, but the downfall started like literally 3 months after the head of IB because CEO and they got a new head of IB. Obviously market took a turn for the worst around then, but timing seems too perfect to call it a coincidence.

Most Helpful

Guy became head of their group. But further, there’s more to the story.

Separately, What do you think pays better becoming head of a mm group or being a number at Evercore?

MD economics aren’t analyst economics. Often taking “downgrades” are how MD’s actually make money. Either starting your own firm or going to a less well known practice with better economics are how MD’s make more. Otherwise mms wouldn’t be able to attract the best talent. Just use a little common sense, please.

But going deeper, analyst layoffs are cyclically the right thing to do and many other firms are doing the same. PE firms and banks are all slowing hiring and cutting heads, we were in an expansion, now it’s slowing. This isn’t WB specific.

Firm is fine, but much like other banks, their volume and transaction size in tech is going to be much lower for the next several years than the last several years. Smart bank ceos are slowing hiring/ cutting in those areas otherwise they will have too large a team for too little deal flow. 


The attitude of any current or former Baird Analyst/Associate that I have ever dealt with leads me to believe those guys' bosses beat them with telephones and staplers all day.   


I just lol’ed. anyone who works at Blair, especially in tech, knows exactly why he’s not at Blair anymore


Former Blair analyst here. At least from the tech side, Blair was crushing it over the past few years with a lot of $100 - $500M software deals fueled by sponsor buy & build rush. Bias aside, I really doubt that they are in a massive decline. My PE fund is still seeing decent amount of deals from them but no one is really lining up to buy burning hairy businesses for 10x+ ARR. I don't really know the politics of the firm but the economic climate isn't really kind to them and bankers moving from one place to another isn't that big of a deal. 10 years ago, Blair really built out their tech group by poaching folks from Jefferies and the likes. 


They will be fine in the long-run. Their business model (high volume, sponsor-focused deals) is at a cyclical trough right now as it is still very hard to get financing and sponsors are hesitant to exit at lower values.

IMO, there is already a backlog of 2018/2019 vintage businesses growing and once the COVID-acquired businesses start to enter year 3+ next year there will be a massive spike in deal activity again. 


.. or BK lmao. 

*buys at 20x ARR*

*buys industrial biz at 14x+* "trust me guys its non-cyclical, we've transformed the biz"

PE in particular (as well as non long duration fixed rate CRE) better PRAY we are not higher for longer. But if the Fed cuts, many portcos will have declining rev/EBITDA at that point (recession).  Maybe M&A will heat up (for the wrong reasons) but Fund returns will suck.

PE PortCo's are already cash flow negative in many cases - fuck your "PF Adj EBITDA" - "Real cash flow" is negative and sponsors are SWEATING. Two options: inject equity / find some dumbass PC lender willing to essentially fund your burn, or take out a NAV loan against your fund's equity investments....


Blair did exactly what they wanted to do in 2021 (capture bull market upswing but hiring like mad) and partners were clipping $20M+ checks in 2021. Markets gone down and now they’re laying off the bottom of the totem poll. Like others have said, cyclical industry and at the end of they day they’re looking to make partners rich vs protect junior talent.

Should someone take a Baird offer over WB because of this? I would argue they’re the same at the end of the day, no huge difference in junior experience so prioritize group / location / etc.

Good example of how a bank isn’t you friend - they’ll use you in good times and cut you loose as soon as you’re no longer needed


Lol. I get a laugh whenever the bi-monthly "What's the most toxic IB group" thread gets posted again by a new user and within 2 hours every bank on Wall Street has been called out. 

Maybe we're all just over caffeinated assholes lol. 


Former analyst here. I think it would be impossible to truly impress upon you all how much over-hiring went on at Blair, even through mid-2022. I’m talking doubling analyst sizes / hiring do-nothing MDs, etc.

The layoffs were really done in a callous way and I know some people who had their lives messed up / offers revoked because they didn’t let their manager know that they were leaving.

That said — I think the core business is fine. They have some really sharp partners running Healthcare and Tech. 


What do you mean by offers revoked, like they rescinded incoming analysts’ offers?


Ducimus enim eos nostrum nemo. Quos non quaerat omnis consectetur. Et molestiae similique qui expedita id expedita cupiditate. Iure placeat alias voluptatibus ut temporibus ut sint. Non illum voluptas sed maxime. Ipsum voluptas officiis qui aperiam. Sequi ad est libero ipsam aut adipisci corrupti et.


Placeat aut dolorum enim nam. Non eum aperiam id voluptatibus consectetur. Laudantium sit laboriosam sapiente ut laboriosam quae exercitationem soluta. Magnam corrupti voluptas voluptas. Quasi voluptatem similique nam ut.

Fugiat dolor dolorum similique et eligendi et rerum. Exercitationem maiores odio voluptatem. Aliquam quam voluptates animi. Earum soluta sint eum eius nobis et repellendus.

Career Advancement Opportunities

December 2023 Investment Banking

  • Lincoln International 01 99.6%
  • Lazard Freres (++) 99.1%
  • Jefferies & Company 02 98.7%
  • William Blair 12 98.3%
  • Financial Technology Partners 02 97.9%

Overall Employee Satisfaction

December 2023 Investment Banking

  • William Blair 04 99.6%
  • Lincoln International 10 99.1%
  • Moelis & Company 25 98.7%
  • Stephens Inc 11 98.3%
  • Jefferies & Company 09 97.8%

Professional Growth Opportunities

December 2023 Investment Banking

  • Lincoln International 01 99.6%
  • Lazard Freres 17 99.1%
  • Financial Technology Partners 07 98.7%
  • Jefferies & Company 03 98.3%
  • UBS AG 16 97.8%

Total Avg Compensation

December 2023 Investment Banking

  • Director/MD (6) $592
  • Vice President (34) $390
  • Associates (169) $258
  • 3rd+ Year Analyst (15) $187
  • 2nd Year Analyst (106) $168
  • Intern/Summer Associate (49) $167
  • 1st Year Analyst (322) $166
  • Intern/Summer Analyst (236) $95
16 IB Interviews Notes

“... there’s no excuse to not take advantage of the resources out there available to you. Best value for your $ are the...”


From 10 rejections to 1 dream investment banking internship

“... I believe it was the single biggest reason why I ended up with an offer...”