3 FT offers: Which one would you choose?

Hi Monkeys. I am an international student from a target on the west coast (UCLA/USC/Berkeley). Long story short, I summered at a BB in NY, didn't get a return due to Covid downsizing, grinded like crazy, and now have 3 FT offers to choose from:

  1. Top BB outside the US (India/Indonesia/China)

  2. Small boutique that's the strongest in its niche (NY)

  3. MM in a mid-sized city (Houston/Boston)

Short-term, I would love to get work experience in the US, but long-term, I plan to return to my home country. If you were in my shoes, which role would you choose and why? Thanks in advance.

EDIT: I chose the MM in Houston/Boston. Thanks for all your responses in the thread!

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Comments (21)

  • Associate 3 in IB-M&A
Mar 11, 2021 - 12:16pm

Second the small boutique. You can lateral to a NYC BB pretty easily after a year or two, and move to your home country from there.

Non US/European BB experience is discounted a lot - if you have strong US work experience it will help you down the line

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  • Intern in IB - Gen
Mar 11, 2021 - 2:05pm

Thanks for the input!

And you're right about the non-US/Europe discount factor, which I've definitely observed among my peers.

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Mar 11, 2021 - 12:23pm

As a fellow international student, I would suggest the MM in Houston/Boston. I think lateraling as an international student is more difficult than normal and so I think there might be a reasonable possibility that you have to spend a longer time there and if you don't get H1B sponsorship then the MM has a big network where you can be transferred to say London or something easily. Plus for lateraling, you can do that from the MM too. I am going to venture a guess here and say the MM is Jefferies?

It's the only MM that I know that sponsors that also has groups in Houston and Boston. If it in fact is Jefferies, go off anon for a second and I can DM you with more info.

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Mar 11, 2021 - 12:43pm

Thanks for the input! The MM is along the lines of the Jefferies/Baird/Blair. Houston/Boston is a placeholder to protect my identity lol.

  • Senior Consultant in Consulting
Mar 11, 2021 - 12:29pm

Looking at this in a nutshell I would honestly say: Boutique > BB > MM. Now, with a bit more information, things can change:

  • Is the top BB GS/MS/JP? Is the opportunity in HK? If so, that might jump to the top.
  • Is the boutique a no-name or somewhat known boutique, or is it very well known in it's sector e.g., LionTree Advisors? If so, that may be top.
  • Is the MM along the lines of BBH/HW or more along the lines of Jefferies, Blair or Baird? That will make a difference on whether you should strongly consider this option.
  • Intern in IB - Gen
Mar 11, 2021 - 12:40pm

1. Opportunity is not in HK. More like CS/UBS/BAML and has the highest deal flow in the country. Focus is on capital markets, not so much on M&A.

2. The average monkey probably has not heard of it but it's the top industrials-focused boutique and has worked with most of its subsector's clients. M&A focused. Deal flow was strong in 2020 and is expected to grow

3. More along the lines of Jefferies/Blair/Baird.

Mar 11, 2021 - 1:07pm

I'm of the opinion that the MM should be strongly considered here assuming you are looking to stay in the US. People on WSO think working/living outside NYC is equivalent to death, while in all honesty it's a good way to save some money and cities like Houston/Boston or similar sized cities still have plenty to do and see. Between the two offers you have in the US, the MM sounds like it has the most well known brand. In the event you want to lateral to a more well known shop, that brand name of the place you work at is often what's going to get your resume taken seriously. If it's a jefferies/Blair I would take it, but that's just me. Also both of those shops get PE looks if you're inclined to go to the buyside, idk enough about the boutique to say the same.

Mar 12, 2021 - 5:15am

How niche are we talking here? If you're going to Ziegler's financing group that's #1 for senior living, I don't really care that it's number one at that point, I wouldn't want to be there. I personally would favor the middle market bank depending on the firm. Maybe Boston or Houston aren't your #1 choice, but if you have the opportunity to work for like a William Blair or Baird (not sure if they have offices in both just spitting off names) then I would surely entertain them. Personally, I don't think I would look very favorably at the BBS because those definitely aren't the most desirable non-US locations.


  • Intern in IB - Gen
Mar 17, 2021 - 1:06am

I ended up choosing the MM. Agreed - I'm actually quite excited to work/live in a different city. Also, while I don't plan to recruit for PE, the MM will still give me more optionality later on. 

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