Is banking more tolerable in Houston?

Seeing so many posts about how banks are filled with “bots” (for lack of a better term). The guys/girls who have never touched grass and just grinded to get into a top school then grinded to recruit without ever having fun or developing a personality. It got me thinking about whether that’s the case everywhere or if NYC has more of it and Houston will have more bankers that are fun to hang around with, think frat/athlete types. Maybe I’m just thinking this because I’m conservative but I’m really starting to lean towards recruiting for Houston, would appreciate hearing some perspectives though.

 
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There are plenty of threads on here about Houston IB, but as a whole the hours and culture there are significantly worse... NY sweatshop hours across the street, even at random MMs with no deal flow. Call it lack of HR oversight, tough seniors, whatever.. but it's very common for Houston analysts to transfer to their NY office and end up working far fewer hours.

Also it may be a moot point anyway as you're unlikely to be able to randomly recruit there - Houston looks for significant ties to TX (grew up there or TX school). You can look up Houston analysts, 90% of them are from TX schools and the rest mostly grew up there. Even that population tends to flee to NY, so they are typically very unwilling to hire anyone with zero roots in TX.

 
Hunch0

Weird that the hours are worse across the street, I’ve heard the same about calgary. Figure it’s a satellite office or an O&G thing?

As someone who works in Houston I think it is more of an O&G thing. Typically O&G is more technically challenging, and you don't have an M&A group to outsource your modeling to. You generally have larger deal teams (when you account for geologists, engineers and mappers) and so more turns on materials.

 
Funniest

Yes, Houston banking (especially o&g banking at JPM, Jefferies, ex. Citi) is much better than NYC for WLB and culture. Ppl don't yell in Houston and rarely work past mid-night while most treat analysts with respect.

 

Gotta be sarcasm right? Ive heard jefferies houston has crazy hours, not sure about culture though

 

Gotta be sarcasm right? Ive heard jefferies houston has crazy hours, not sure about culture though

Depends on the shop, which I've got to think is the case in all the other IB coverage hubs of Chicago, SF, NYC, Charlotte, etc?

I'd like to think that senior bankers in Houston generally have a greater sense of what I'd call "general social etiquette" when it comes to how they treat juniors -- they'll grind you down into a fine powder, again, depends on the bank and subvertical (E&P / Midstream / OFS / R&M, but on the whole they're generally pretty friendly to everybody up-and-down the deal team supply chain: bullshitting with juniors in the pen, covering an impromptu HH on a random Tuesday night just because, won't shy away from inviting non-MDs to play golf -- stuff like that.

.....which is just a polite way of addressing the "people don't yell and treat analysts with respect" question with: senior bankers for the most part are more human, more empathetic than their NYC counterparts; fewer psychopaths and a lot less senseless dick-swinging

or maybe that was just my shop in particular, idk, I'd like to think it was a Houston-thing rather than localized to the BB in Houston I used to work for, idk

 

Analyst 1 in IB-M&A:

Yes, Houston banking (especially o&g banking at JPM, Jefferies, ex. Citi) is much better than NYC for WLB and culture. Ppl don't yell in Houston and rarely work past mid-night while most treat analysts with respect.


Funny. JPM Houston has a horrible culture and Jefferies has brutal hours (albeit with a decent culture) and no protected time

Had a few buddies there who would talk about consistently working until 4/5am for 6 months at a time. Top notch shop in terms of getting A&D reps as a junior though

 

Going to be intentionally vague here. I was at a BB that no longer has a Houston presence. You can guess which one. Because of that, I had to move to NYC for another opportunity. I'm looking to lateral back down to Texas. NYC was meant to be a lifeboat and I was 50/50 on if I was even going to do it, or just take my unemployment and figure something out.

Culturally Jefferies is known to be sweaty as was Citi back in the day. My old firm was probably a bit longer hours than I'm doing in NYC but granted deal flow across the whole street is down also, and the Houston hours were long but not horror story unreasonable long. There's a lot of stale info on here or trust me bro type sourcing.

As far as people to meet, in any large enough city you'll be able to meet people with like minded interests. My favorite Texas city actually is Dallas, but there's just more IB activity in Houston of size. Texas Capital Bank in Dallas is still on the come up - people talk about it here on the forum but just do a Dealogic search for what they've actually done. Then do other middle markets, not even UMM or bulge, and there's no real comparison. Maybe down the road they get there but they've got a lot of work to do, whereas Houston you'll have true BB/EBs.

If you want to do Texas then do Texas. There are some things that I do appreciate about NYC and some aspects have been better than I expected but a big thing for me is how certain places treated their people in 2020 and I find what NYC did with the lockdowns and mandates unacceptable. If you disagree then fine, but it's my career not yours and I'm trying to get back to TX.

Edit: one last note, as far as sweaty hours, I think SF tech teams have us all beat. I've heard bizarre horror stories that exceed anything I've heard in Houston.

 

I mean you can find plenty on here, although people ascribe it to the nature of tech EBs and not San Francisco. Do a search for Ducera for example. It's only Houston that they refer to as "Houston banking" and not energy banking. That being said my comment is more based on feedback from personal friends who are doing SF healthcare banking and weekend and Saturday work is routine. At my current NY BB, yes it happens sometimes but I honestly haven't worked a Saturday and even Sundays are sometimes along the lines of just fix some minor comments and send to the printers, nothing hardcore although there are some exceptions. It's not the routine. In Houston about the same, no Saturdays (srs) but Sundays might have been a little bit heavier. Still had time for a social life. Your mileage may vary since I'm only speaking of my personal experience.

 

I've been in houston 4.5 years now, not O&G

Biggest upshot is that it's a M/LCOL city and you keep a lot of money

But I'm trying to go to NY. For your 20s, it's not the city for me, takes forever to drive anywhere, sprawl, commuter city, no nature, like, really ugly. Southern culture is also not for me

Just weigh your values, which change over time- for a while stability/financial security was the most important thing and now it's people, experiences and lifestyle

Ask yourself what your life will be like outside of work

 

I’m a few years removed from the Houston banking scene but ya it’s super sweaty. O&G is very modeling intensive and technical (hence why every bank has a technical team) and now that shale is entering the later innings, there are far less mandates out there. I have my own views on where we are in the consolidation theme so there may be more or less to do there in the next few years but there’s less private assets coveted by publics and few inventory/CF accretive smaller publics that would be good buys by the larger publics. That’ll bring about advisor consolidation which you’ve already seen with UBS/CS out altogether and a bunch of others basically swirling the drain.

Yes, some of that is moving to P&U/infra but most is handled from NYC/some SF. And those are also notoriously sweaty. So if you come to Houston then expect to sweat whether you’re in the office or outside.

 

There’s a reason why Houston banks care more about “why not nyc” than “why houston”. They know Houston is mostly just backup for NYC (at least true at analyst level) but don’t want to acknowledge it. Come here only if you can’t land anything decent in NYC, even if so try to prep for pe /lateral interviews from day 1 cos the o&g silo is real (the deeper you get buried the longer you stay in Houston).

Obviously for ppl with ties to Houston/Texas it’s a completely different story / bias.

Also don’t get fooled by ppl claiming Houston going to be the capital for renewables ib/pe, it’s simply not happening and never will.

When “lcol and no state income tax” is the only thing ppl can boast about Houston banking, you know what you are signing up for anyways

 

Analyst 3+ in IB - Cov:

There’s a reason why Houston banks care more about “why not nyc” than “why houston”. They know Houston is mostly just backup for NYC (at least true at analyst level) but don’t want to acknowledge it. Come here only if you can’t land anything decent in NYC, even if so try to prep for pe /lateral interviews from day 1 cos the o&g silo is real (the deeper you get buried the longer you stay in Houston).


Obviously for ppl with ties to Houston/Texas it’s a completely different story / bias.


Also don’t get fooled by ppl claiming Houston going to be the capital for renewables ib/pe, it’s simply not happening and never will.


When “lcol and no state income tax” is the only thing ppl can boast about Houston banking, you know what you are signing up for anyways


Love how you proclaim Houston won’t be the capital for renewables IB when groups are building out groups in Houston already. Some banks have poached seniors from other cities to come set up shop in Houston and have the group heads sitting here. But you do you man.

 

Because clean molecules =\= renewables, and Houston at best has some clean molecules mandates. Tell me a bank/group that has their clean electrons (the real renewables) team mainly in Houston? True, banks starting to add that “clean energy” branding to Houston groups, but if you think Moelis poaching Stephen Trauber from Citi and slapping a “head of clean energy” title on him will herald the evolution of Houston into the capital of renewables, then good for you. Just so you know, LNG is clean but not renewable. And a lot of the so called Clean Energy deal flows in Houston is about LNG

 

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