JPM vs. CS offer decision

Hey all, I am lucky enough to have offers from both on the table. JPM is (most likely) with one of their "lesser" coverage groups and for CS I have a pretty good indication I'd get sponsors. I'm leaning slightly towards CS because I really want to do PE and like the group, but it's really tough. Don't want to reveal the exact JPM group because I don't want to give away too much info. Would love any advice. Thanks in advance.

Comments (28)

  • Prospect in IB - Ind
Oct 18, 2020 - 10:21pm

CS Sponsors is a top group. You should still get a great experience even though LBO activity has slowed. There could be a rebound by the time you hit the desk. Is this for SA or FT?

  • Intern in IB - Ind
Oct 19, 2020 - 7:06pm

It's basically sponsors or bust at CS, at least when compared to JPM. Also, CS isn't the only sponsors group that does the execution-- I know for a fact Barclays, BofA, and MS  do too. Not sure how OP has a "pretty good indication" that they'll get sponsors, it's the #1 group on almost everyone incoming SA's list. 

I wouldn't risk that and would go for JPM, especially for the PE exits. Sure you might have a good shot at MF PE exits from CS Sponsors, but the same candidate will make it there from JPM Sponsors (but also JPM M&A, HC, CRG...and so on). 

CS Sponsors is starting to get slightly overhyped (too much legacy association) these days, especially since they've dropped their place as the #1 FSG on the street. 

Oct 20, 2020 - 10:59am

I think this and the comments below are fair. If you don't know for a fact you're getting sponsors, I'd go with JPM. That said, if you know your CS placement would be sponsors, I've seen that group work on some very interesting edge-of-the-market type deals and for someone set on PE it'd be a unique opportunity. I'd call analysts at both banks and ask them about what type of deals they've worked on. Try to get a feel for the culture beyond the positive marketing speak everyone uses with recruits. At the end of the day, future career success will be driven by being successful in your first role and getting to do meaningful work on interesting transactions. 

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Ind
Oct 18, 2020 - 10:40pm

In a different group at CS - sponsors has amazing culture and exit opps. And if you didn't get sponsors there are other top groups at CS that place well and have good culture. Can't speak to cultures of JPM groups but really happy at CS

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Ind
Oct 18, 2020 - 10:40pm

In a different group at CS - sponsors has amazing culture and exit opps. And if you didn't get sponsors there are other top groups at CS that place well and have good culture. Can't speak to cultures of JPM groups but really happy at CS

  • Intern in IB - Ind
Oct 18, 2020 - 11:24pm

CS sponsors is a group a lot of interns are going to gun for. I'd go with jp. Most of their groups are top 3 in their respective industry or coverage.

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Oct 19, 2020 - 5:41pm

As other people said, CS sponsors is a shot in the dark. What gives you indication that you will get it? Unless it's a very good chance, I would go with JPM since the majority of the groups there are good and not as top-heavy.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Ind
Oct 19, 2020 - 10:41pm

I'm a second year analyst at CS. I don't know much about JPM, but I would definitely take JPM over CS. One of my roommates works at JPM and their candidates do well, but they hate it there. I'll give a rundown on CS though: 

- Sponsors is a great group, but M&A is better than Sponsors for MF exits. This has been true for at least the last few years. For the class of '18, M&A, TMT, and arguably GIG beat Sponsors in terms of placement. That was a particularly weak class for some reason, but highlights that it doesn't have consistent placement. Sponsors may have just taken a lot of weak candidates recently, but that highlights how it is more up to the candidate and less about the group.

- At CS, my personal belief and anecdotal evidence suggests that the best candidates get offers, and group has little to do with it (unlike, say, PJT RSSG or Goldman TMT where you can be a less than stellar candidate and probably get interviews / offers at top firms). Some anecdotal evidence: TMT this past year (class of '19) had arguably the best placement, followed by M&A, then Sponsors, then GIG / Healthcare. GIG / Healthcare had 1-2 analysts in each going to MFs (I heard GIG had an Apollo exit or two, not sure if true though).

- As a general rule, yearly M&A is the most consistent / best, followed by Sponsors, then TMT, then GIG, then Healthcare. I don't know much about Energy but I heard they do well. RE / FIG I know nothing, I think RE does OK and FIG not well, but someone else should fact check me. C&R does not do that well.

- Lastly for CS, as you can see above, the rankings tend to change year to year with the top 4 or 5 groups moving around a bit. The candidates I know going to MFs / UMMs from these groups were all individually strong, and I know people from non-Sponsors / M&A groups who were able to get MF offers because they were stellar candidates (great schools, personable, and knew finance well without being uninteresting) and not because of their group. Interviews are not a problem for people to get if you have a decent GPA / Undergrad / impress the headhunters / are in a coverage group. You may not get KKR and Blackstone and Apollo and Carlyle, but it would be pretty shocking if you were in a coverage group at CS and couldn't get an interview for at least one of these firms -- these places interview a lot of candidates. 

  • Associate 1 in IB - Ind
Oct 19, 2020 - 11:51pm

Exits come down to the candidate themselves a lot more than people realize. If you're at any mid/top BB you will get similar looks and just so happens to be that top talent concentrates in groups like GS TMT/MS M&A etc. but I would say it is the people in those groups rather than the group themselves. 

In regards to CS, M&A, Sponsors, TMT, REGAL, GIG Will put you in a good position to get quality looks. I would stay away from other groups.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Ind
Oct 19, 2020 - 11:58pm

Agreed. REGAL recruits separately, FYI. If you're an absolute stud at CS v. some idiot at MS M&A you'll get a better offer, but by self-selection and reputation the best candidates tend to be at MS M&A. PE firms don't really care what bank or firm you're at once you're at a certain threshold -- there are certain indicators (like historically TPG growth liked MS Sponsors, and so asos at TPG growth could call and find out who was good at MS Sponsors etc.) and headhunters play a role, but beyond that it really is the candidate (which includes GPA / undergrad, how "chill" or "likable" you are depending on the culture of each firm, ability to talk about deals, LBO test, etc.)

Oct 20, 2020 - 11:18am

Second this. In terms of pre-MBA buyside recruiting, your interviews with headhunters will be far, far more important than your employer. I would personally pick JPM: better brand name and all groups are strong. Otherwise you should have solid reasons to believe that you will be a strong cultural fit into a group at CS.

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