Lay of the Land - EBs

I've found this website to be immensely helpful throughout college and the beginning of my banking career. I thought I would return the favor by having an informative discussion around the current elite boutique landscape in the U.S. (although EB bankers elsewhere feel free to chime in). I think it's fair to say that EBs are becoming increasingly popular choice for undergrads going into finance, especially at target schools. 

For context, I'm a former EB analyst who spent two years there before leaving for private equity. My initial thoughts here obviously reflect my experience, but they're also shaped by my roommates (both former EB analysts now in PE) and college friends who have worked at boutiques. I figured it would be best to group banks into tiers, which reflect my holistic view, but isn't to necessarily say that one should always choose a bank in a higher tier if offered the choice.

tier 1

EvercoreI think on the whole, Evercore might offer the best combination of factors, out of not just the boutiques, but investment banks in general. Compared to other places, it's definitely not a facetime shop, while deal flow is still consistently strong across nearly all verticals. The bullpen (they have a "fishbowl") culture is great for forming bonds with your class and pay is amongst the top. Exit wise, it's arguably the best, along with PJT. A good amount of analysts exit to MF / UMM, with others heading to top hedge funds or credit shops for the RX analysts. Outlook here is definitely positive.

PJT: Another top shop that's continuing to gain share in the space and land on big name deals. Culture here is on the frattier side for the M&A group. The M&A team apparently does a decent amount of pitch work as well, but I think that's part of the growing pains as the shop rapidly scales. RX group is top notch, and both M&A and RX will offer exit opportunities to top PE and HF. Outlook here is positive as well.

Centerview: If you want to stay in banking, Centerview is the place to be and I don't think it's really close. Their pay is best on the street (analysts making 200k+), solid perks (in-house chef / cafe), and they continue to land a spot on some of the biggest deals, particularly in consumer, media and healthcare. Even the notion that Centerview is bad for exits is a bit outmoded - analysts who do intend to recruit do very well in recruiting. Outlook here is positive.

Tier 2

MoelisI think while the top 3 places have continued to rapidly grow, Moelis hasn't seem the same growth and in my opinion, has lost a lot of the allure it once had. In fact, they had down year in FY19 in terms of revenues. The facetime culture, while maybe not as prevalent as before, is still there. Nevertheless, they do a lot of volume and exits are still solid, especially for the LA group. Outlook here is moderately positive. 

LazardI'm still putting them in tier 2, but Lazard is definitely not the Lazard of old in the mid 2000's, where they absolutely dominated the boutique space. A lot of prominent bankers have left over the years (Gary Parr, Woody Young, Matthieu Pigasse) and you don't see them as much on headline deals. Their bonuses this year were cut (my roommate's bonus was the same in his second year) while I can confirm that other EBs did not do the same. Outlook here is trending down.

Tier 3

PWP: PWP kind of peaked in 2016, when they announced AT&T, and hasn't done much noticeable since then. The fact they had to go through a SPAC to go public and abort their IPO isn't the greatest indicator either of company trajectory. I think PWP is a solid place to go if you are intent on staying in banking, as the culture and pay are very good. Deal flow wise though, the firm is lagging and no group stands out as a top player in the industry with the exception of maybe Rx, who have been on some noticeable deals. Exits are ok, although the analysts who exit to top MF / UMM seem to be strong coming in. Outlook here is flat

GreenhillGreenhill is sort of like Lazard, although in a worse position since it doesn't have nearly the same scale. It used to be a dominant player in the mid-2000's, but has fallen of a cliff during the past five years. Deal flow struggles are compounded by top bankers leaving. Surprisingly, the firm still punches above it's weight for exits (I think they place better, per capita, than PWP or Lazard) and they are taking some initiatives to right the ship. Outlook here is flat.

Others: I would probably categorize Guggenheim, Lion Tree and Allen & Co in this tier as well, although I don't know much about those places. 

Would echo the above sentiment on Lazard. Rx has been huge. I also heard they paid in line with other EBs last year but that was for the associate level. Not sure what this year looks like.

Alan Schwartz has obviously done a great job at Gugg. Their pay is also in line with other EBs, at least for juniors.

Wonder how Greenhill is going to hold up long term...

In my opinion,


B EVR (RX or a good group in M&A), PJT M&A, MOE LA, CVP, HL RX (not boutique but RX group experience is similar)

C MOE NY, LAZ (RX especially but idk if it recruits separately)


Obviously, all of these are good banking offers and provide a lot of opportunities for analysts. 

Qatalyst is probably the best place you can be if you want to be in tech - even better than GS/MS/CVP/EVR for it (all these shops are still fantastic). I know several people here and the exits are also fantastic. If you want to exit to VC, Growth Equity, or CorpDev at a startup, its already in the bag. Theres a reason why a 60 person shop can consistently go head to head with BBs and EBs for the largest tech deals.

So has pretty much every other bank. They have stagnated in market share and their average deal size is barely above $1b. Much more comparable to PWP/Laz than the big 3 EBs strictly in terms of deal flow/performance. Despite that analyst exits are still excellent and better than the aforementioned banks.  

I agree here, and I don't think its because PWP has gotten a ton stronger, its more that Moelis and Lazard are not what they used to be and on average are chasing much smaller deals more so competing with the likes of Jefferies and the like for ~1B sponsor mandates. 

Agree as well. Just check out 1st half m&a league tables and you’ll see that Perella had been killing it 

Most Helpful

Only thing that’s inaccurate here is PWP and GHL grouping. Would say the tiers are as follows (in no particular order):

Tier 1: CVP,EVR, PJT



From recruiting at a lot of these firms, this is the take that my friends and I generally share (NY offices):

RX: PJT, then EVR/HL. Moelis/Lazard have generalist placement so hard to tell, but they are good.

M&A: EVR/PJT, then CVP (on par with the first two but 3-year commitment), then Moelis/Lazard, then PWP/GUGG, then maybe Greenhill.

NY Offices are generally the best, main exception I can think of is Moelis LA. If you have other opinions feel free to comment, but this is just what I see.

Second this. PWP is def above GUGG and at least on par with MOE/LAZ. This is reflected in this year’s league tables along with the recent PWP exits (which are significantly better than GUGG)

Fair enough. Moelis, Lazard, and PWP all fit in the category of strong boutiques that might have slowed a bit in recent years but that are still very high quality. Gugg I would rank below because they have been expanding their classes (doubling each year for the last 3 pretty much) but without parallel growth in deal flow. Greenhill has steadily been in decline and, yes, should be last there.

Not to be mean, but PWP is growing rapidly right now so your comment makes no sense. This is a perfect example of the echo chamber takes that bounce around this site.

Congrats on forming your own opinion. Like I said, I was simply sharing mine. It's clear I said that my ranking was based on my own experience and that of my friends who had just gotten through the process. No need to act like your opinion is any better informed.

PM me if you want to talk details on any of these. I have my offer, and could really care less if anyone thinks I'm a simple echo-bot.

Evercore Menlo is probably the next best if we are talking EB

buddy in different group at evr said most of the high profile tech deals they’ve done recently are out of ny not menlo though

Laz SF is the only EB tech team with true established relationships with large cap tech conglomerates in addition to a strong sell-side business. Historical strength and strong exits to MF/UMM each year (friend just left for top tech PE shop from there) last class exited to Silverlake and Thoma (keep in mind less than 5 analysts per class so per head placement is insane). Definitely next up in line for EBs after Q. In a top BB tech team (GS/MS) for reference so know these people and groups well

Didn't most EBs clear 200k for analysts this year? Let me know if this is incorrect due to bucketing, I know of college classmates at EVR, PJT, CVP, and MOE clearing 200k during their 1st year (now 2nd year analysts)...

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