Los Angeles IB SA Recruiting Mini-Guide

I haven't seen a thread on this in a while and thought I would put some of my thoughts together to help out future prospects, this guide is generally aimed at college sophomores recruiting for Summer Analyst positions in Los Angeles.

Pre-Requisites: 

Target Schools: USC, Berkeley, and UCLA are the main target schools for banks in LA and SF. There is also representation from Stanford, the Claremont colleges, and other T20 schools (Northwestern, seen a couple Wharton, etc.)

Grades: 3.5 GPA required, 3.8+ is better. 

Resume: 1-2 finance internships, preferably 1 investment banking internship (at a boutique). There's other guides on here on how to find these internships and who to cold email, lots of these internships are bullshit and people know that but it is a box to check. USC/UCB/UCLA also have selective IB workshops that host exclusive recruiting events with banks, pretty important to be in your respective program for LA recruiting. 

Banks: 

This will be loosely organized into tiers but really depends on what you are looking for in a firm. Feel free to bicker in the comments. 

Top

Moelis: Generally considered the top shop in LA, Ken Moelis technically sits in LA even though he's never actually in the office. Most similar bank to NY culture (aka sweatshop). Great dealflow, great exits including PE exits to NY. Generalist program with a focus on Media/Entertainment, also a lot of deals in sports/sports teams/sports betting. 

Houlihan RX: Also viewed very highly, probably considered 2nd best shop in LA. Important to note that RX is a distinct group from their Corp Fin. team and recruits separately. Downside is that it is brutal sweatshop, multiple SAs recently have declined their return because it really is just that bad. Definitely do their Case Comp if you go to USC/UCB/UCLA, they hire directly from the finalists of the competition. Super early recruiting process. 

Credit Suisse: Split between Financial Sponsors and Gaming (aka casinos and other gambling. Very strong group, the financial sponsors side of the office is incredibly technical and gives you a ton of exposure to LA PE firms. Sweatshop (sense a pattern yet from the top groups?). Self-proclaimed "fratty culture." Analyst program is designed to be 2 years because everyone leaves for PE and has great exits. 

Up There Too

Barclays: Financial Sponsors group. Known for great culture and slightly less hours than other groups. Completely owns the model for their sponsors deal which is important when considering West Coast groups. Like CS, known for great PE exits because of the exposure you get with PE firms.

Morgan Stanley: From my understanding there are four groups: Media and Entertainment, Consumer/Retail, Gaming, and M&A. Regardless though you recruit as a generalist and rank them once you join. Strong group, probably about 4-5 size analyst class. Morgan Stanley name carries value. Guys that I spoked too seemed chill. 

Goldman Sachs: Healthcare and Consumer/Retail (C/R team is like 5 people total). Junior bankers are staffed across SF and LA so the team is larger than just the LA office. Takes probably 1-2 SA's each year for the LA office. Very strong, just runs very lean. They hold a selective West Coast Insight Day and then recruit directly from that event. 

Still Strong

Lazard: Aerospace and Defense as well as Interactive Media that recently worked on the Sony/Bungie deal. Very chill people, but only take about 3 SAs per year with two of those spots being diversity. If you're at all interested in A&D they dominate the space. 

Citi: Metals and Mining group. Executes all their own deals and is the Citi Global HQ of Metals and Mining. If you are at all interested in that space definitely pursue as they kill it. Office is in Downtown LA which is pretty shitty in my opinion, almost everywhere else is in Century City. 

Rothschild: Technology M&A. Strong, growing group and if you are set on tech banking in LA its the place to be. Lots of European senior bankers and opportunities to work overseas a few years in. 

PWP: Industrials group, definitely growing and moving into a new office to make room for new hires. Recently poached an A&D MD from Lazard so his A&D practice will be ramping up soon as well. Probably around 3-4 SAs each year going forward. Outsources its first round interviews and you need to be well-versed in the industrials space. 

BofA: Weird combo of groups, they have EGRC which is like smaller deals on the West Coast, used to be more industrials focused but now includes TMT and C&R as well. Very late recruiting process (June). 

Others

RBC: New office covering entertainment. 

Ducera: Rx and M&A. Assholes imo. Only like 4 bankers total sit in LA.

Wells Fargo: MM coverage. 

Deloitte Corporate Finance: MM coverage

Raymond James: MM coverage. 

Intrepid

Timeline: 

I want to preface this section by reminding that the timeline changes every single year, and there really is no way exactly to predict when a firm will go, but this is a rough guideline.

Networking: Kicks off in January-February of your sophomore year and ends when you get an offer. This may change in the future but it seems pointless to get on calls before January, and even January is early. I had a bank or two where I got on 4+ calls with a bank in January but didn't keep in touch enough and then when interviews rolled around in April I wasn't in the picture. 

Interviews: First banks to go kick off non-diversity interviews around end of March/beginning of April. Average timing is probably mid-late April. Some firms (BofA) tend to go super late like in June. Standard procedure is 1-2 first rounds/phone screens then Super Day with 5ish interviews. 

Tips:

Networking: The goal for networking is maintaining relationships and keeping your name at the forefront of the bankers minds. Don't spam the entire office but try to talk to a good amount of the junior bankers in order to get a first round. If you can manage to have a good call with a Director/MD then you could end up with someone really pulling for you which is great. Have your first calls with banks you don't want to end up with because the first 5-10 calls are probably going to be shit.  LA recruitment is 100% networking, HR is not involved and the online applications are oftentimes not even related to the process. These are really just miscellaneous tips that came to mind first, feel free to ask more specific questions too. 

Technicals: You should know M&I Advanced Guides and BIWS 400 Technicals cold, then start prepping beyond that. Paper LBOs are common for Super Days especially at the Financial Sponsors groups. LA interviews are generally more technical than NY interviews so be prepared. Technicals are really just a box to check, will never be the thing that gets you the job. 

TMAYS: Tell Me About Yourself/Walk Me Through Your Resume will be asked in every interview. Have a 70 second story prepared and rehearsed, then make it sound like its not rehearsed. Practice it and improve it throughout the process. 

Behaviorals: Have a strong why LA story and make it clear you are only recruiting for LA. Know a deal, industry trends/deals if it's a coverage group, and have 5 stories you can use for all "Tell Me About a Time" behavioral questions.

That's all I got. LA Banking is a hidden gem and absolutely worth pursuing. Important to note that it is really difficult to recruit for LA and NY simultaneously, especially because many banks force you to rank by location or only apply for one location. Try to figure out your location preference early on. 

Good Luck. 

Comments (62)

Most Helpful
May 17, 2022 - 7:44pm
Fiscal Turtle, what's your opinion? Comment below:

This is on the money. You clearly did your due diligence during recruiting. Would move Lazard up however

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  • 10
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  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
May 18, 2022 - 9:39am

I think Laz LA had a really important group head leave to JPM recently - not sure how that will impact the group in the long run, but not sure the office is the best place to be right now

  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
Jun 18, 2022 - 12:10am

Lazard is top 3 in LA, arguably number 1 over the last year. Their A&D team closed near 30 deals and the Tech team is taking off (as evidenced by Sony/Bungie deal).

Have heard the culture is way better than any other LA bank with bonuses being top of market, and getting interviews with top PE funds if analysts don't choose to stay A2A.

  • Intern in PE - LBOs
Jun 19, 2022 - 1:43am

Yeah Lazard's A&D group is top and has great MF exits in LA (Oaktree, Ares, etc.)

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
May 17, 2022 - 8:27pm

Does JP not have a group? Noticed a sponsors MD in LA. 

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
May 18, 2022 - 3:57am

are the M&I advanced guides from the premium package? are they different from the 400 Qs?

  • Intern in IB-M&A
May 18, 2022 - 6:34pm

I'm not sure where they originate from but there are about 5 or 6 in depth guides from M&I that cover DCF, LBO, Merger Model, EV, and accounting (might be forgetting one). If you don't have those, I suggest trying to get them from upperclassmen.

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Gen
May 18, 2022 - 4:03am

Great post and very accurate. Thanks for sharing!

  • Intern in IB - PubFin
May 18, 2022 - 9:36pm

Really nice post. As a rising sophomore at UCLA/USC I find this stuff really useful.

What shops would you say have a non-"fratty" vibe? I'll have a strong resume and good GPA coming into recruitment, just worried that I won't be able to click with the frat bros. Even though I grew up in a really WASPy community as a kid, I'm definitely not the frat kid kind of guy (East Asian kid so non diversity either)

May 18, 2022 - 11:19pm
hogcalling2015, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Hard to say, I got a bit of a nerdy vibe at Roth but really depends on who you talk to. Also keep in mind that if you're targeting LA IB you should be trying to talk to all the banks listed (at least above the "Others" tier). 

  • Intern in IB-M&A
May 19, 2022 - 12:20pm

Not OP here - but in my experience networking with HL LA, they are not fratty at all. Pretty laid back, kind of nerdy, super smart. Also did not get the sweatshop/hardo vibe from them either.

May 19, 2022 - 12:15pm
Mr.Robot, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Can anyone chime in on life in LA vs NYC barring compensation since i assume you'll make enough to live comfortably in either city

  • Director in PE - Other
May 19, 2022 - 2:49pm

Better WLB-when it's sunny virtually everyday and you can see the ocean from the century city offices, definitely lends to better moods and pace.

COL depends where you live in town. Rent is generally cheaper in LA, but you're going to be driving daily where gas in the area is $6+ currently. I still think you can live more comfortably here, and you have access to a lot more natural amenities and can generally find a lot of the same food/bev experiences as you would in NYC plus other unique ones.

May 19, 2022 - 12:18pm
negativecashflow, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Extremely insightful. Nice work! Any more insight on the EGRC group at BofA? Seems like an interesting group

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
May 19, 2022 - 11:36pm

Think they have a small cap markets team but not a full time IB coverage team in LA. Know a couple buddies who work at Jefferies NY and will occasionally go into the LA office if they're in town, but no full time group sits there (or at least not at the junior levels)

  • Incoming Analyst in IB-M&A
May 20, 2022 - 5:48am

Think they also have a small public finance team that sits there.

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
May 19, 2022 - 12:49pm

Any Non-Target or Semi-Target schools for the LA and SF area?

  • Associate 1 in IB-M&A
May 19, 2022 - 11:48pm

Had a great experience working with them on the big side. Lincoln has a great culture and strong deal flow around their head MD. Handle A&D, Industrials and a little restructuring work from what I remember.

May 19, 2022 - 1:38pm
marketMergerMaddie, what's your opinion? Comment below:

One thing that might be worth mentioning, and I don't know how relevant it is to LA, but I would emphasize the importance of stating that you are confident about where you want to work locationally and that being LA. I work for a company where the location piece is a critical part, and although I don't love where I currently live, I have very deep ties to it. 

A lot of companies want to have long term employees. People who they want to work with for a long time. People they can develop, since those generally make for the best employees overall. 

  • Director in PE - Other
May 19, 2022 - 2:52pm

Nice point. I think super relevant in LA, a lot of people want to move to here, but if you're not experienced with it, it can be overwhelming just given how large and different it is. Particularly if you're coming from the east coast-you're very far away from home.

May 19, 2022 - 6:02pm
hogcalling2015, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Very very true. I was asked which cities I was recruiting for probably 100+ times during the process, and if you said something other than I'm set on LA it's definitely a ding. 

  • Intern in IB - PubFin
May 19, 2022 - 10:48pm

Do you know much bankers communicate with other offices when it comes to questions like what cities are you looking into? I don't want to only apply to LA offices, as I am interested in SF as well (also more slots for SA), but if people in the two offices are talking with each other then I'm fucked. Would it suffice to say something like "I'm applying to a few places in SF, but heavy focus on LA?", and then say the same thing to SF offices, or is this also insta-ding? Thanks

  • Analyst 1 in Consulting
May 19, 2022 - 2:47pm

OP - you said that Moelis LA has great PE exits including PE exits to NY. Do you find that CS FSG & Barclays FSG have the same type of exits (PE exits to NY) or do most analysts exit to PE in LA? 

Any particular reason why Moelis LA sends some analysts to PE in NY compared to CS FSG & Barclays FSG?

  • Associate 1 in PE - LBOs
May 19, 2022 - 11:17pm

When you go through on cycle, you have to be extremely set on gunning for NY, as going for NY means directly forgoing interviews at west coast shops. Moelis LA takes much more candidates from east coast schools / have east coast backgrounds who know they want to go to NY

  • Intern in IB - Cov
May 28, 2022 - 5:15am

Spoke to my friend who's an analyst here and they confirmed that NY exits are rare. Mainly because people want to stay in LA, but the few who have gone to NY either move to a less-reputable fund or transfer to the NY office first.

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Jun 18, 2022 - 1:04am

Majority of MOE LA analyst classes end up in MF PE in NY. Large reason for this is that half of the class is reserved for W students, so they're generally more inclined to go back to the west coast.

  • Intern in PE - Growth
May 19, 2022 - 7:40pm

More insights on CS LA culture and recent on cycle placements?

  • Associate 1 in PE - LBOs
May 19, 2022 - 11:20pm

In the past 3 years w/ a class size of 5, exits include Silver lake, Warburg, Genstar, LGP, Ares, Clearlake, Francisco. This is before this year, not sure about this year's placements

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
May 19, 2022 - 11:34pm

Heard that Roth has 6 summer analysts this year, so definitely growing and focused on Tech M&A which is pretty unique in LA (and better than being in SF lol)

  • Intern in IB - Gen
May 20, 2022 - 1:17am

Some others thoughts:

Santa Clara University (SCU) has been seeing surprisingly good placement into many of the mentioned firms, especially in the Bay Area, obviously. 

Also just another data point: I went to a private non-target in CA and am headed to a top US MSF in the fall, and I've had a good amount of luck networking and lining up FT interviews for middle market firms. I managed to land two boutique IB internships which prior to finishing undergrad and had a F500 Corp Fin internship which all definitely helped.

There are a ton of boutique IB shops in SoCal and also in Palo Alto/SF that need help "off-cycle" (during the school year), keep networking and if you have the skills I bet you can find a good gig that you can use as leverage to break into a better bank down the road.

I've found soft skills to go super far for getting the attention of boutique firms and even for making connections in middle market IB, which makes a lot of sense, and will apply to any geography. Write nice emails, well formatted, no typos, show confidence but humility, etc.

CA also has so much potential for tech PE, F500 tech and media corp dev, VC (which will be tricky to break into a top firm unless you have a S tier background) etc... that you should all think about in advance and start to network in to early on in my opinion, to stay ahead of the curve.

  • Intern in IB - Gen
May 23, 2022 - 7:21pm

Like just really intense guys or actual assholes?

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
May 24, 2022 - 12:28pm

Straight assholes - talked to an associate and he was legit SCREAMING over the phone about how I was wrong on a technical question in our coffee chat and also cut me off multiple times.

  • Prospect in PE - Other
May 23, 2022 - 6:47pm

Awesome write-up. Would love it if you could do something similar but for the PE shops in LA.

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Jun 17, 2022 - 9:20am

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Jun 18, 2022 - 9:09pm
finance.nerd, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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Jun 19, 2022 - 1:05am
hogcalling2015, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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Career Advancement Opportunities

June 2022 Investment Banking

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