As I said below, there are certain situations where the M&A team might do more of the process work but outside of specialised sectors like NRG or FIG, those are becoming very rare. Another point to mention is that the experience in M&A is less formalised since the quality of your experience heavily depends on your own performance. Meaning that top-bucket people in M&A will have a very modelling-heavy/no bullshit experience while "worse" performers might do more of the process work. Simultaneously, M&A is always one if not the team that has the most people in the top-bucket (bonus/performance-wise) which would not add up if your statement was correct. So maybe the deal you are working on is either in a specialised industry or one of the rarer situations but you should not generalize.

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Just left, so have quite good knowledge. Generally, there is not one group such as Sponsors at CS or PUI at Barclays (in NY) that will be significantly better than the overall bank reputation. Nonetheless, there are a few teams that are better than others.

  • Generally, M&A is the best team if you don't have a specific preference for a niche like FIG or credit right from the outset. In the last few years, exits have included Apollo, TPG, Providence, Advent, Apax etc. They are increasingly doing most to all of the (more technical) modelling on their deals, specifically for deals in more general industries and almost always on mergers
  • NRG is quite strong in its space but be aware that many funds run specific processes for NRG people/teams. Therefore, you will be very boxed in. To my knowledge usually, top 3 in EMEA NRG M&A though and exits to quite strong NRG funds/teams. Global Head sits in London.
  • LevFin is pretty strong although note that it does not have the same standing as in NY where they run the market with JPM. In London, CS, JPM, and also DB have better deal flow, but given BAML's global leadership in the area, it is a strong team with excellent exits in the credit space (CVC last year) and occasional strong exits for normal PE (e.g. Warburg a few years ago)
  • Industrials (or Multis) is also quite good and has strong client relationships across the board. Good exits in the past (not always MF/UMM level) due to high deal flow overall (BC last year). One of the top-earners in the bank. From senior associate onwards, people are already quite specialised so make sure you figure that out since they cover everything from Chemicals and Materials, to Business Services, Infrastructure, Building Materials and much more.
  • FIG is suprisingly one of the top teams. Very strong deal flow and second-biggest FIG revenue for a team in London (only second to JPM, but #1 if you adjust for team size). Get strong looks by headhunters if you have a beneficial language (German, French, Nordics). Generally, people often specialise quite early on, and after a few banks/insurance deals you will focus on this field. Strong Fintech and Payments franchise.
  • UK is very good although, admittedly, I don't know too much about the team. Sent people to quite a few MFs in the past. Very strong deal flow, especially in the P2P sphere. Geoff Iles is probably one if not the best UK banker based on his takeover code expertise.
  • HC is a bit of a mixed bag. They are quite small in comparison to other banks (notably JPM). While they have very strong relationships with some corporates like Novartis, their volume mainly comes from mega deals (often in the Germanic region) and less continuous deal flow. Might be poised for strong growth though as they are working on a lot of Biotech IPOs atm. Probably best culture of any team at the bank. Team head is the loveliest woman in banking.

  • C&R actually has a strong franchise globally but team has a very intense and formatting-heavy work culture, while being more fun outside of work. But has had some good exits in the past.

  • TMT is historically only a Media & Telco team but has been getting a lot better recently.

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