How difficult would it be to lateral from a boutique to an EB/BB?

How much more difficult would it be to lateral from a boutique to an EB/BB after completing a 3 year analyst program? Would I have to lateral as an analyst to be competitive or would I be closer to the As1 lateral promote? Would it hurt/pigeon hole me to stay in the lower middle market for too long?

1) Has anyone made the jump or know someone that did?

2) Are there any difficulties during the interview process? How much networking should one do prior? Or is a recruiter and an application enough?

3) How did your old firm take it?

4) How important are highlighting key transactions? Should you include the highest dollar value deals or more industry focused deals?

5) How to make yourself standout to certain teams like tech/industrials/healthcare if you're coming from a generalist boutique?

Comments (7)

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  • VP in IB-M&A
Aug 4, 2022 - 5:24pm

1) Has anyone made the jump or know someone that did?

I know someone that went from a LMM HC boutique to JPM - at the Analyst level. I also had multiple offers as an Associate to move to a BB and EB.

2) Are there any difficulties during the interview process? How much networking should one do prior? Or is a recruiter and an application enough?

Went through recruiters. Not difficult - just the standard story, behavioral, technical, and deal questions. Everyone get's why you're interviewing with an upmarket bank

3) How did your old firm take it?

They pushed hard to retain me. Pay is street and I had the right MDs backing me. So I stayed

4) How important are highlighting key transactions? Should you include the highest dollar value deals or more industry focused deals?

Doesn't matter as long as you know it cold. Ideally an M&A deal though from start to finish. 

5) How to make yourself standout to certain teams like tech/industrials/healthcare if you're coming from a generalist boutique?

Emphasize industry as the reason your moving to them. Then rehearse 4 - 5 trends. Be able to go 1 layer deeper. 

  • Associate 3 in IB-M&A
Aug 4, 2022 - 5:32pm

By boutique do you mean regional that people have heard of, or a super tiny one-location place with 30 people? The first is very easy to lateral out of, the second is a bit trickier and you need a good hiring market to go right to BB/EB. Was doable in 2021, these days you may need to stop at a MM first, but still give BB/EB a try.

IMO best time to make this move is between 12-18 months on the job. They will usually have you do a 3rd year as analyst and then go up to As1. Rare to lateral right into the associate promote if you're upgrading banks that much, even if you have 3 full years behind you.

Try and get staffed on whatever industry you like best so you can appeal to those groups. Make sure your industry knowledge is excellent (you list 3 industries - pick 1 and focus on that, it's impossible to recruit for 3 extremely different industries and do it well). I would definitely network.

  • VP in IB-M&A
Aug 4, 2022 - 5:38pm

Industry boutique that nobody would have heard of. As long as it's not some rinky dink business 5 man broker firm you're fine (if it is, it's still all good you just would have to take a 2 stepper to get to a BB: go from small regional no name to a MM and then a BB).

Except for last year, you'll generally have to pay with stepbacks - if you're a senior analyst, you'll have to come in a 2nd year analyst, etc. That's your value add currency - you might be able to perform at a higher level and can crush it. If you can't - it's still all good and they'll train you up.

As you start to get more senior, like VP and above is where it starts to get tougher. 

  • Associate 2 in IB-M&A
Aug 4, 2022 - 6:53pm

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