Baird in 2021 - Hours & Comp?

Any updated insight to hours and compensation at Baird's Chicago office?

  1. Does the firm's protected Saturday policy (apparently legit) effectively force analysts to work longer hours during the week? Are 2 AM to 3 AM nights common?

  2. What does Baird pay for signing, base, and mid/top bucket bonus historically? Does it differ across groups? Any fringe benefits?

Thanks

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Comments (126)

Most Helpful
  • Anonymous Monkey's picture
  • Anonymous Monkey
  • Rank: Chimp
Apr 10, 2021 - 8:52pm

You will get rocked. Big propaganda around caring and being the best lifestyle shop, just wait until you get there lol. 2am standard log off, 3am regularly, 4am every other couple of days (allegedly).

Apr 10, 2021 - 10:25pm

Are any of the groups particularly sweaty? I'm sure industrials is pretty bad because of deal flow but how does healthcare, tech, and consumer stack up?

Array

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  • Analyst 2 in IB - Gen
Apr 12, 2021 - 10:28pm

Pay is definitely not below street. Assoc makes 175 base with sizable bonus.

  • Associate 2 in AM - FI
Apr 13, 2021 - 12:19pm

This is not true. They were very clear when they raised base to $175k that total comp would remain about the same. It's below street comp, above street hours, bad exits, and a significant disconnect between the culture they say they have and what it actually is. 

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Ind
Apr 12, 2021 - 2:12pm

Don't do it. I have a number of friends who worked in their Industrials group and it seems like a total sweatshop shop.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Ind
Apr 12, 2021 - 3:57pm

Have a friend in their tech group. His WLB is worse than my friends at Moelis, PJT RSSG, and every other sweaty group you can think of on the street. He works until at least 3am every day with very limited exit opps. He has become completely disgusted by IB after having interned for a different MM and liking it a lot. Would avoid. 

Apr 12, 2021 - 6:58pm

Not to pile on too much here but genuinely the worst human being I've ever had to deal with in IB came out of this office. Dude had absolutely no value add in the process and if I had to work with him on a regular basis I never would have survived my analyst years. 

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Ind
Apr 12, 2021 - 7:51pm

Multiple hospitalizations in every group. Rumor is that this was the first year that the MDs had target fees to hit and Baird went from winning ~50% of their pitches (selective) to pitching everything under the sun and losing. Was an absolute nightmare, the bank is severely struggling to retain talent and they are not a "lifestyle" shop by any means. Anyone who isn't in consumer and says Baird has a great culture is either A.) the VP who called me at midnight on a Friday to tell me how much he makes or B.) lying to you about the culture. I can't recommend anyone come here, hours are bad and you're not rewarded with exit ops or comp.

Apr 12, 2021 - 7:59pm

What would you say explains the firm's strong A2A retention? Seems like it's slightly higher / in-line with other MMs. Surely people aren't crazy enough to stick it out beyond a 2 yr stint.

Array

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Ind
Apr 12, 2021 - 8:03pm

Those numbers should and will come down. Historically I'd say that they definitely recruited the right type of individual that wasn't recruiting from day 1 (the midwestern kid from big 10 schools). Comp at associate there is really attractive for Chicago / MKE ($175k base) with all cash bonus. Recruiting for PE/exits is a big no-no there, really got to keep it quiet which makes things difficult.

With the drastic change in lifestyle, you will see more normal attrition. Hard to take a LMM PE job and effectively leave $100k on the table to go that route vs staying on at Baird as an associate.

Apr 12, 2021 - 8:10pm

Makes sense, this is helpful. +SB

Sounds like consumer is somewhat bearable and industrials is the most brutal. Would you say tech & services or healthcare is worse? Any major differences in comp or exits across the groups?

Array

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Ind
Apr 12, 2021 - 8:27pm

Need to add on to how bad it has gotten there. A number of people from my school used to go there every year. Over the last few years, nobody has recruited there because of how badly the analysts have it there. Every analyst that I've spoken to there hates the place. Does not sound good. 

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Ind
Apr 12, 2021 - 8:35pm

Protected Saturday policy is a huge fucking joke and most people here, especially in Industrials and Tech are consistently pulling 3-4am nights. I would advice people to stay away from these two groups. HC and consumer might be slightly better. Comp at analyst level sucks compared to places like Blair.

Apr 12, 2021 - 8:41pm

Guessing differences in comp is due to lower bonuses? I believe all the MMs (Baird, Blair, HL) pay 85k base to A1s. Any idea how big the comp spread is?

Array

Apr 12, 2021 - 8:47pm

Analyst I networked said that Protected Saturdays are barely protected and that the cultural thing is just propaganda, not that different from other banks. Told me kiss life goodbye lolz...

dunno about comp tho, I heard they start at 90 or 95 base, anyone know bonus?

Apr 12, 2021 - 9:38pm

Also interested. Concrete % of base or $$$ figures would be helpful for mid/top bucket.

Array

Apr 12, 2021 - 9:47pm

Going off of this, are these legitimate hospitalizations in a medical sense? I've never heard of hospitalization in a metaphorical sense so it must be.

Array

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Apr 13, 2021 - 7:57pm

In all honesty, I think Baird sounds much worse than Jefferies Houston. Jefferies Houston has been killing it in the energy game, pays above street, and had great exits when they used to be a thing in energy (MF was very possible from that group). Have also heard the culture has improved and that they have introduced protected Saturdays. 

Apr 12, 2021 - 10:11pm

Ok I'm dying laughing knowing full well some peeps that recruited there recently lol. I'm going to chat them up in few months just to see if they're still breathing and/or need a therapist

  • Intern in Consulting
Apr 12, 2021 - 11:09pm

Can anyone from Baird actually comment on this? Or are they all in the hospital?

  • Intern in Consulting
Apr 13, 2021 - 12:04am

This is an anonymous forum for a reason... although it's great hearing from friends of friends if anyone actually works at the firm I don't see why they wouldn't comment?

  • Associate 1 in IB - Gen
Apr 13, 2021 - 1:23am

I've heard it's gotten pretty bad. B school buddy says they over-fired for COVID then boom activity skyrocketed and they are scrambling.

That being said, I know that in prior years there were groups that took the Saturday policy very seriously because I hung out with associate friends relatively frequently. Bonuses feel somewhat light but are all cash and a higher base so call it a wash, especially given low COL areas.

Hope they can right the ship because they do strong MM work but need to hire more bodies to manage the deal flow ASAP.

Apr 13, 2021 - 1:29am

Very helpful, thanks. This might be a shot in the dark but any idea what 2020 bonuses looked like?

Array

  • Associate 1 in IB - Gen
Apr 13, 2021 - 1:35am

Unfortunately don't have hard numbers but pretty surprised by the above poster saying top bucket was 75, because I know for a fact in 2019 there were AS1 bonuses over 100 for sure (this is in addition to the 175 base) so pretend it's equivalent of 150 + 125 except it's all cash which is very much in line with street if not a touch better.

  • Associate 1 in IB - Gen
Apr 13, 2021 - 11:18am

Any place seeing record deal flow like Blair and Baird are going to have rough hours. The difference is how well can these firms hire to adjust or are they going to wait it out with a leaner group.

I wouldn't say any of these top MMs are known as lifestyle shops but that some have fewer d-bags during the rough hours and people tend to stick around.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Ind
Apr 13, 2021 - 11:31am

Have a few friends at Blair and Baird. Both have absolutely horrible hours and their top groups, industrials at Baird and Tech/HC, work past 2/3am most nights. However, culture seems to be far better at Blair than Baird. Everyone I've spoken to at Blair that was A->A wanted to stay on whereas at Baird they stayed on because of limited exit opps. 

  • Associate 1 in IB - Gen
Apr 13, 2021 - 2:57pm

This seems to be a brand-new talking point re: Baird exits and culture.

Past experience and threads have all highlighted pretty decent ones, in line with other top MMs, maybe a touch behind Blair. Have things shifted recently? Hard to see why they'd be different considering they work in the same space.

Also, is this office specific? MKE vs. CHI? Differs from my interactions w/r/t culture being bad (bad hours but good people).

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Ind
Apr 13, 2021 - 1:41pm

Similar story at hw, long hours (not hospitalization level though), good deal flow, but at least the exits are there and there's no culture of hiding abt recruiting as it's actively encouraged

  • Incoming Analyst in IB-M&A
Apr 19, 2021 - 11:03am

Is it realistic to have plans on the weekends for HW? Like grabbing a dinner with a SO or something on a Saturday?

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Ind
Apr 15, 2021 - 10:24pm

I currently work at Baird. I would say that there is definitely a lot of truth to this thread, but also a lot of rumor / hearsay. Yes, the hours are about on par with what has been discussed 9-3am is most analyst /associate hours. On the protect weekend, Baird recently extended the protected period to 7pm on Friday-10am on Sunday. I would say the vast majority of jr bankers do not work over the period, especially in the last month or so since the extended protected period.

Apr 15, 2021 - 10:49pm

Thank you, this is very helpful. +SB

Can you comment on any of the following:

Pay, Exit opportunities (major differences between groups?), Pre-COVID Fringe benefits (Ubers back home, meal stipend, etc.)

Array

Apr 19, 2021 - 7:51pm

Just bumping my question again. Any info on pay and exit opportunities?

Array

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Ind
Apr 19, 2021 - 11:26am

Can you comment on exits for analysts. Is it actively discouraged? What percent stay a2a and is that out of desire or lack of better opps

  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Apr 22, 2021 - 4:37am

This makes me feel better that I still haven't heard back after my first round for their SA roles. Thank you. And is this for their CHI office?

Apr 19, 2021 - 8:26pm

I think there Saturday policy refers to their lower tier jobs that aren't PE or IB. My school is a few blocks away from Baird, they hire a lot of people for their shitty Corp roles that I think they promote the benefits to IB and PE that wouldn't apply (in terms of hours on the job).

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Ind
Apr 19, 2021 - 11:20pm

The "protected Saturday policy" is a part of the junior banker initiative...sooo I think it's intended for the bankers, wild guess tho

  • Associate 3 in IB - Ind
Apr 20, 2021 - 11:13am

MiggleGiggles

I think there Saturday policy refers to their lower tier jobs that aren't PE or IB. My school is a few blocks away from Baird, they hire a lot of people for their shitty Corp roles that I think they promote the benefits to IB and PE that wouldn't apply (in terms of hours on the job).

The non-IB roles are all Mon-Fri, 9-5.  The Saturday policy is for bankers and was highly protected prior to COVID, but the bank way overreacted to the COVID slowdown and let go of 25% of their bankers (mostly all associates and a some VPs) and the Saturday policy went out the window

Apr 20, 2021 - 9:28am

Sad to read all this. Absent COVID I have only heard great things about Baird.

Other than extending the protected Saturday window, did Baird do anything else during COVID? Pay bump, peloton, matching EBITDA tattoos?

Lots of anonymous A1/2 posting in this thread... Hang in there if you are struggling. I suggest sharing your frustration with management. If you do it in a manner that is professional and collaborative you can at least say you tried.

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Apr 20, 2021 - 6:17pm

A lot of this thread is about the Chicago office, but are things as bad in the Milwaukee office?

  • Associate 3 in IB - Ind
Apr 20, 2021 - 8:48pm

I would say MKE is even worse than Chicago because they care more about facetime than the Chicago office.  

Controversial
  • Works at Robert W. Baird & Co.
Apr 21, 2021 - 4:27pm

Fellas, I have to step in here to defend Baird. I have strong reason to believe that a lot of the anon monkeys are just piling on. 

Things are busy here, that's true. But I also can't think of any other bank where the senior leadership is as dedicated or devoted to its employees. If I wanted to call the group head right now, I could. We already e-mail casually about sports and company culture.

I sent the group head a message a few weeks ago about giving people a day off for taking the COVID vaccine, since a lot of folks have side effects. Within four hours, there was a firmwide e-mail saying that the vaccine takes priority over all workstreams and there would be NO ability for any banker to request that a junior work instead of taking the vaccine, or taking a sick-day due to 2nd dose reactions. 

Every junior banker I work with is someone I trust and who I would call a friend. My MDs are demanding, but no more demanding than any other firm, and there's no culture of screaming at juniors or slamming keyboards like what you have at other banks.

We've had a dinner stipend since the beginning of the lockdown, and we're getting spot bonuses. 

I've spoken to a lot of banks. I interview because everyone should interview. I've turned down legitimate offers from buyside shops, BBs and other MM firms. I can't think of anywhere else I'd rather be on the sellside.

Happy to take questions if you want a different perspective. Yes, it's accurate that hours are long right now, but that's systemic. As I look for where I want to be for the next five years, there's nowhere I'd rather be than Baird. 

  • Intern in Consulting
Apr 21, 2021 - 4:39pm

I think some of the biggest concerns are hours, protected saturday enforcement, and overall culture of the firm right now. Given how much I've heard about protected Saturdays and a strong WLB, it's kind of shocking to see so much negative outlook coming out of Baird. 

Is the protected policy actually enforced? What is all in comp looking like from the A1,A2,A3 levels? What group are you in (if you don't mind answering) and what is the general sentiment across the board from juniors? A lot of these questions have been answered already, but would appreciate hearing from another individual who works at the firm (given the other employee had a lot of not so stellar things to say).

  • Works at Robert W. Baird & Co.
Apr 21, 2021 - 5:29pm

For sure - here's my perspective.

  • Protected Policy
    • I've never been staffed on a Saturday. Senior bankers generally respect my time and 99% of Saturday work is something I can do from my phone, literally answering a client or buyer question. I have had MD's, multiple ones, tell clients to respect our weekends. 
    • I have been staffed on one holiday my three years here. It was my fault, I scheduled a project bid date for a holiday (Good Friday) and I had to spend the day forwarding e-mails. No analysis, just waiting for bids to come in.
    • We get four day weekends twice a year with no work allowed, and they usually come with a "fun bonus" of $500 or so. We also usually have GIBOS, our annual company event, which is usually a 3 day retreat at a cozy resort with an emphasis on relaxing. Sometimes things come up, I've had to work through one of them. 
  • Comp
    • Salary plus bonus is average, but I know other banks have recently bumped pay up. However, we also get profit sharing and (after 3 years) company stock. When we get the chance to buy the stock, I'm getting as much as I can. Our stock pays a ridiculous dividend. I'm very, very happy with my TC.
  • Sentiment
    • People were very busy in Q4. Things are getting better.
      • Baird hires for culture. The "no asshole" policy is true. When I'm down in trenches, I'm glad I'm surrounded by other Baird employees.
    • I've worked at a lot of places. Baird is the best place I've ever worked. 
  • Associate 3 in IB - Ind
Apr 22, 2021 - 11:52pm

They did pay below street in 2019 after their big acquisition and down year in banking.  Bonuses were up significantly for 2020 after they overdid their Covid-related layoffs and were not prepared for the eventual market recovery.

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Ind
Apr 23, 2021 - 12:56am

As someone who was on the comp call at Baird and remembers the quote from the senior team of "bonuses are in line with 2019", can comment that your statement is patently false.

  • VP in IB - Gen
Apr 28, 2021 - 10:15pm

By way of context, I'm a VP that started at Baird as an analyst and have seen our culture and junior work / life harmony evolve over time. When I joined Baird, there was no protected Saturday policy, but Baird was one of the first banks to institute this (in my third year as an analyst). It was a great initiative that provided a set time to be away from the phone (at the time blackberry) and computer for some well-deserved recharging.

Over the last several years, I've seen certain periods of time where this policy unfortunately gets challenged a bit, and under both periods it was during a time of intense market M&A activity coupled with the firm being under staffed to support significant new business that was won. In both instances, these were times that were really challenging but are growing pains for a firm that has taken meaningful share and moved up market significantly over the last decade. Success however is not an excuse, and leadership has acted in both instances to try and address issues. I'll try to outline a few of the positives to act as a counterbalance to some of the above comments. I recognize that my experience will not be the same as others, as the experience is always different across groups / industries, offices and even in deal teams. 

Now, to address improvements at Baird that are underway:

- First of all, leadership is treating this situation very seriously; we have had multiple calls over the last few weeks with consistent messaging. Additionally, group heads send emails every Monday morning to confirm whether or not folks worked on Saturday as no work should be done without approval. We should all be holding each other accountable on this

- Since March, we have hired 23 new junior bankers and are working to add another 15-20 to help with the workload

- Announced one-time retention bonuses paid to analysts ($10k), associates ($15k) and VPs ($20k)

- Mandatory long weekend over the Easter weekend

- Mandatory long Memorial Day weekend with a $500 holiday stipend

- Mandatory long weekend at the end of the summer

- Mandatory five days of vacation every six mounts

- Baird leadership has committed to "leaning in" on compensation this year, and I believe them. The last time we had an intense period like this was 2018, and it was the only time I heard my bonus number and laughed out loud at how good it was. So, I would expect big things this year to offset the personal sacrifice and effort

On broader Baird issues and other topics:

- Culture is still paramount at our firm. If someone is being an asshole, they won't last. Period.

- Pay is very strong, but I recognize we all yearn for "more" especially when we work in a world where bankers, PE partners and executives rake in millions... we will get there ladies and gents

- Exit opps: despite the comments above, they are actually quite good. There may be some skewed perception though since many people who leave may just decide to leave finance and this strange world we operate in entirely. I've seen folks go to to BD roles for better lifestyle, the International Monetary Fund and numerous strong private equity firms in the middle market. Traditionally, Baird tends to send fewer folks to MF because... Baird (being a middle market firm) has more reps and interaction in the middle market... so candidates' relationships and experience are more relevant for the middle market. I've seen exits to firms such as Lone Star, Littlejohn, NEP, Frontenac and AIP to name a few

- Tangential benefits: being a Baird stock holder is an incredible long-term wealth creation tool, and one all mid and senior bankers swear by. Book value that goes up every year and typically a very attractive dividend

- Profit sharing: in addition to the 401(k) match, Baird also distributes profits to employees in their retirement accounts at the end of each years since there are no public shareholders. Employees own the firm

Hopefully some of this context is helpful and provides some insightful information with regards to Baird. I empathize that what we are going through is extremely difficult for most and that the sacrifices are many. However, I also recognize that feelings of malice are likely amplified with the broader world being on its head and the fact that it has been a lot of "work hard" without much "play hard" to offset the grinding. But, I'm confident things will get better... not just at Baird but across the industry. This has been a challenging 12 months for our industry and has put even some of the best cultures to the test. Stress and pressures are high, and we can all do a bit better to empathize with our colleagues (up and down the chain) and try to stay as positive as possible. Keep grinding folks, the future is bright... so will be the bonuses. 

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