Financial Sponsors at Associate level and beyond

Can anyone comment on being in sponsors at the associate level and after? From what I know, many groups are very lean in the middle. Would there be less exits to corp dev since you're working with PE firms rather than traditional industry companies? Thanks.

Best Response

So I'll caveat that I am not a senior banker. I'm speaking purely from my experience as a junior.

If I were to have stayed in banking, I would have 100% wanted to do so in Sponsors. In my opinion, it's the best job at the bank. A sponsors banker can rely on a much smaller group of clients as PE funds are obviously doing deals with greater frequency then corporate clients. It's far fewer relationships that need to be managed effectively, and you're not battling to make the case for M&A.

For that reason, sponsors can be a tough group to advance in (at least it was at the bank I was at). No one wants to leave, because you can generate a lot of revenue while arguably putting in less work then your peers in industry coverage teams. Naturally, the bottle-neck comes at the Director or MD level. At that point, I've seen bankers lateral to other banks or move internally to industry coverage groups.

I can't comment with certainty on corporate development exits, but I don't necessarily think you would have an issue. You will have worked on a ton of deals, and that will be valuable. I also am aware of a senior sponsors banker that went to head the M&A team of a very large corporate. Given he had pretty diversified experience and had worked in industry coverage as well.

Again, take it with a grain of salt. I left banking after the analyst level.


So that will depend on your bank. My experience was that industry bankers get much better modeling experience than sponsors bankers. The sponsors guys would typically pass off the heavy modeling to an industry team, although the sponsors guys would typically do a lot of "quick and dirty" lbo models. Could be very different at other banks though.

Again, this may vary by bank and team, but I would think that at the Associate level there wouldn't be much intensive modeling. Sure, you would be responsible for the model, but most of the leg work within it is going to be done by your analyst.


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