I am an incoming M7 MBA candidate with 5 years work experience in "lower tier" banks hoping to break into bulge brackets. Will banks consider my deal experience and give me higher pay and/or more responsibilities?

So I am an MBA going to an M7 business school this fall and I aim to use the MBA to "upgrade" to a bulge bracket bank. Prior to that I worked in corporate banking (1 year) then investment banking (4 years) for a "lower tier" bank (think Wells Fargo, RBC, Mizuho, HSBC). Have worked on some good deals but not WSJ front page worthy. I studied in a sub-Top 50 public school, hence why I was not able to get into BB's right out of undergrad.

Anyway, will the banks consider my previous deal experience? Like will they put me up for fast track promotion or at least give me more responsibility right off the bat? Or will I be treated like a complete newbie together with the ex-veterans and ex-doctors in my cohort who will also start at Associate? Also, will I be paid more or will I be paid the same salary as such peers? I am hearing conflicting opinions on this so I am not sure how this works. There is the group which says that the MBA is effectively a reset and then there is the group which says that I could be promoted to VP quicker.

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  • Associate 1 in IB - Gen
Jul 4, 2022 - 2:21pm

Others who have said you could have done this without the MBA are right but it seems like you want the prestige of the degree and there's no use in crying over spilled milk anyway.

The short answer is no, your prior experience will not help with faster promotion or higher pay directly. Everyone in IB at a given firm starts with the same base, you will start as an associate, and the promotion timeline is the same.

However, if you really have a lot of relevant experience as you say, it should help you secure a better job (interview better, being seen as a better asset to hit the ground running, etc.), and maybe you'll perform better and get a better bonus by virtue of being top bucket.

Jul 4, 2022 - 11:41pm
boiledocean, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Others who have said you could have done this without the MBA are right but it seems like you want the prestige of the degree and there's no use in crying over spilled milk anyway.

The short answer is no, your prior experience will not help with faster promotion or higher pay directly. Everyone in IB at a given firm starts with the same base, you will start as an associate, and the promotion timeline is the same.

However, if you really have a lot of relevant experience as you say, it should help you secure a better job (interview better, being seen as a better asset to hit the ground running, etc.), and maybe you'll perform better and get a better bonus by virtue of being top bucket.

Thanks for the reply. That does tend to sum up the middle that most folks I have been asking from say. On the promotion timeline, is there some flexibility? Like if I perform at the level of an Associate 3 at Associate 2, could I be made VP a year earlier? Or is that rare? 

Forgot to add that it is also for me to at least take a break from IB so yeah I am fine with the MBA and thought this through. 

  • Associate 1 in IB - Gen
Jul 5, 2022 - 11:14am

Fair enough: the break will be worthwhile, you'll have a ton of fun, and make a lot of good connections so it's definitely not a total waste.

For your question, I'm sure there are some banks that would do it but it's unheard of in my experience at any major EB/BB. At my EB, I haven't seen it ever and I feel like at any BB it'd be much less likely because you have ~50 MBA associates per class, and promoting one earlier than all the others when it's really a 3 year formal program would be very odd.

It's not unheard of at the VP/D level but even there where there are much fewer people per class and it's a less formal timeline, it's pretty rare.   

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Jul 4, 2022 - 3:09pm

I know someone who was in your exact same shoes and jumped from a similar LMM bank to a top EB after business school. Given your experience, you should be able to secure a top EB/BB offer so I would optimize for pay/WLB/location based on your preferences. Also, I haven't been to business school but I imagine it couldn't hurt to start networking with alumni of your business school at groups and shops that you want to be at. 

Jul 4, 2022 - 4:44pm
Isaiah_53_5 💎🙌💎🙌💎, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Sounds like you're on the right path. 

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

  • Associate 1 in IB - Cov
Jul 4, 2022 - 4:52pm

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