Small M&A-focused boutique - future prospects

Would love to get opinions on IB long-term (primarily boutique experiences).

I grew up in London, went to a target uni in the US, now moved back in London working for a sector-specific boutique (M&A / late stage capital raising), loving it so far in terms of people / culture / work content.

For context, it was much easier to get a job in London given my UK citizenship rather than competing with Americans on Wall St - even my uni professors said to apply back to UK as Wall St banks simply have no motivation to hire internationals (visa fees etc) that perform at the same level as local target-school Americans - might as well save on legal fees, right?

So, having only joined just a few weeks ago after my summer internship last year, it's pretty clear that the macro environment hasn't been on our side recently - deal flow is decent, impressive if anything but nothing compared to prior years (sector in question boomed during COVID).

Love the team and culture, no doubt. However, as I heard, winning business was a priority from Jan-July, heard of ridiculous pitch-based hours from all levels (Analyst1 - Associate3). So, hearing senior associates working Analyst hours, it just doesn't seem sustainable in the long term, despite the firm leading in the sector and trying to expand. Currently hearing that we're trying to hire 1-2-year experienced analysts from BBs to spread workload, which is great, but apparently having difficulties with recruiting as it's hard to fit into the small, entrepreneurial, lean deal team culture, on top of the sector-specific focus. 

I'm 3 weeks in, instantly got staffed on a massive pitch and barely having time on weekends. I enjoy learning quickly and being given challenges, but how long is this really sustainable for? Senior associates having to work analyst hours just sounds like something I don't want to sign up for long-term, despite my motivation and desire to learn. Of course, sounds like a banal option, but long-term Corp Dev within the sector sounds very appealing. Anyone gone through similar experiences that can share some insight? Sector relates to digital media-entertainment-TMT.


Congratulations on the role! Glad it worked out for you.

It’s sustainable as long as you can sustain it, and that changes/depends from person to person. Corp dev is definitely lucrative, but what I’ve seen is that it’s kind of a one way street - if you don’t like it, it’s pretty hard to come back to IB/PE.

The main motivation with IB/PE is just money. That’s the hard reality nomatter what people will tell you. If you’re good on that front and you think you can sustain on it for long, might as well quit. If you’re not and aspire to build wealth, worth grinding into this side of the table for a bit. Keep your eyes on the prize, whatever it is.

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