On Exit Ops

Currently a second-year analyst that has recently accepted a PE offer, so wanted to provide a perspective on some of the nonsense I've seen on here (that I frankly used to believe) from college students re. frantic comparisons of extremely similar banks and their exit ops (PE specifically).

To all of you college nervous college sophomores: please stop picking offers based on marginal "prestige." As someone that is not at a "top" bank, I can tell you that you will get looks from almost any fund (MF, UMM, MM) if you are in a solid group in a NY BB / EB. Lazard vs Moelis vs Evercore is a complete waste of time. You are unnecessarily picking hairs. If you are lucky enough to get an offer from any of these well-known places, you should prioritize the following:

  • Culture / who you know and jive with. This will play a HUGE role in your development, and if you're in the good graces of the group, recruiting for PE will be substantially easier as your references will be great, your bonus will be higher, the junior team will be understanding of your interview schedules, and you'll actually learn more on the job and get better deal experience (responsibility wise) which will give you a massive edge in interviews. Taking an offer from BAML HC where you know and get along with many alums >> being the nth random head at a GS / MS group that is sweaty and impersonal, but "prestigious". 

  • Deal flow and analyst experience. If you want to do high touch, lean deal-team M&A, any EB is great. If you get more than one offer, I would then down select based on culture not prestige. If you want the full service experience, go the BB route… you know the rest.

I have seen SO many friends get burned and hate their lives while chasing prestige in banking; would advise you all to not make that mistake. The only merit I could see in gunning for a tippy top group over one you get along with better is if you're a mega hardo that 100% wants KKR / APO on-cycle and you know GS TMT is a straight shot to get there. Nothing wrong with that, but for everyone else, I encourage you to consider more intangible factors - you will be happier, perform better, and frankly may even get BETTER ops down the road. Best of luck.

Comments (17)

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
Apr 12, 2022 - 1:02am

How can you not be in a top/solid group when getting looked at by MF/UMM ? I'm in a MM shop and MF/UMMs won't even give me interviews.

My guess is you were at Jefferies/Houlihan Lokey kind of place? 

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Apr 13, 2022 - 2:48pm

It helps if you went to a target undergrad. I worked at a middle bank (in a top group) along the lines of RBC/WF/WB/Opco/RJ/etc and got a UMM offer and at least interviews at all MF/UMM funds I was interested in because I reached out to some alum friends at those shops.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Apr 12, 2022 - 1:27am

Chiming in here. Also received looks from UMM/MF during on-cycle a few weeks ago despite being at a non-"top" BB in a Tier 2 city (ultimately accepted a UMM offer). GPA/ACT/School have more of an impact than you think.

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
Apr 12, 2022 - 1:33am

I personally think the fact that GPA and School Brand still matter at this point is absolutely ridiculous. PEs judge people by who they were 6-8 years ago when they got into college? That's flat out bs. 

Apr 13, 2022 - 1:11pm
Deal Team Six, what's your opinion? Comment below:

The fact that ACT score has any impact is literally comical. This sort of thing is what makes breaking into IBD / PE daunting for folks with non-cookie cutter backgrounds. It may truly matter for MFs and what not but I just wanted to chime in that there are plenty of solid  LMM / MM PE funds that are not concerned with ACT (and even GPA is given less emphasis). There is a never ending dick measuring contest at some of the top funds that is truly pathetic. 

What about your junior high GPA? How competitive was your elementary school? What about your Dads ACT? Surely there must be a strong link between my great grandfather's high school's acceptance rating and my maximum potential in life. 

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
Apr 13, 2022 - 10:49pm

That's the thing. Was in touch with a well-known VC and they like my backgorund. However, they decided to bail because my GPA was 3.5, not meeting their 3.7 cutoff.

I definitely could have done better, no excuse to that. At the same time, what the hack ? A 27 year old guy is recruiting for PE/VC and you dinged me because of a 0.2 GPA difference? 

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Apr 12, 2022 - 1:41am

I'm at a MM and got looks from pretty much every single UMM and even 2 MFs - not BX/KKR/Apollo but next tier down. This site vastly overestimates how selective PE interviews are - sure, more people from top banks land those seats because they're probably better candidates on average, but you'll have the chance to interview at top PE firms even from a MM bank

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
Apr 12, 2022 - 2:35am

Care to elaborate on which MM? Any closed deals ? I'm in a lower-tier MM bank and not getting interviews at all. Also only one early-stage M&A mandate so far so that's not good either. 

Most Helpful
  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Apr 12, 2022 - 2:54am

At one of the "top" MMs according to this site (WB, Baird, etc) in a top group within bank. Deal flow is crazy so have closed a few solid deals which definitely also helped me

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Apr 12, 2022 - 8:55am

Did you notice a tangible difference in outcomes between top and "bottom" groups at BBs

  • Prospect in IB - Cov
Apr 12, 2022 - 1:34pm

Just got a few 23 SA gigs, deciding between BB and a EB. I definitely want the exposure to all types of deals at BB, but curious about how big of a difference is between top and "bottom" groups at a BB in terms of exit ops? Thanks!

  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
Apr 12, 2022 - 8:32pm

OP chiming in here. Sorry if this is blunt, but I encourage you to re-read my post. Unless you are 100% committed to chasing APO/KKR or a tiger cub (slim chances for everyone where marginal group prestige levels provide a tangible edge), it DOESN'T matter. Any generally applicable coverage group at any solid BB with dealflow will be just fine. What matters way more is YOUR capabilities and development as a professional. A rockstar analyst at Citi Healthcare will place better than an average analyst at GS 10/10. 

Obviously you should target groups with good dealflow, but please don't kick yourself (or worse, burn bridges trying to move too soon without good reason) over not getting GS / MS. 

  • Intern in PE - LBOs
Apr 13, 2022 - 6:47pm

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