In browsing this forum, I've come across some misinformation (or none at all) about Allen & Company. The firm has historically been shrouded in secrecy...until today. Hopefully, I can shed some light on this super-secretive firm. All information was gathered through online resources and discussions with current and former employees over several years.
The History of Allen & Co
Informative link on Allen's history: http://www.cornerofberkshireandfairfax.ca/forum/ge...
Currently, the firm is run by the third-generation of the Allen family, Herb Allen.
The Allen & Company website is nonexistent.
Overview of Allen & Company
Allen & Company has 180 employees split among M&A, Capital Markets, Wealth Management, and Venture Capital. The M&A group consists of approximately 35 bankers and hires both summer interns and sometimes fresh college graduates.
Some well-known Managing Directors include George Tenet (former Director of the CIA), Bob Kerrey (former Senator), Bill Bradley (former Senator), and Dan Lufkin (founder of DLJ). Ian Smith (based in San Francisco) is the most important banker at the firm: he brings in the vast majority of the firm's deal flow and IBD revenues.
Ian Smith on Business Insider's list of top tech bankers: http://www.businessinsider.com/top-tech-bankers-in...
Ian Smith's LinkedIn and list of deals: https://www.linkedin.com/in/iangsmith
The firm does not have a San Francisco office. The entire firm is located in New York, with two Managing Directors in San Francisco.
Allen and Company New York Office
Located at the Coca-Cola Building on 711 Fifth Avenue in New York, the firm's offices have a very "old-school" vibe: dark wooden furniture, framed wall photos, expensive art, sculptures. The firm also has a full kitchen and butler staff, whose responsibilities are to serve clients and Managing Directors.
Allen & Co Investment Bank - Deal Flow and Fees
The M&A group is known to work on high-profile transactions in Technology and Media. However, Allen & Company will often slip into a deal more because of its relationships rather than its ability to execute. As a result, the firm is rarely, if ever, the sole advisor in large deals: it will usually co-advise with other banks (sometimes swooping in last minute) and allow them to do the heavy lifting.
Many of the firm's transactions are not publicly disclosed, so league tables underestimate the firm's true deal volume. Clients often come to Allen & Company for its discretion, since they can be certain that the deal will not be leaked before closing.
The firm does little pitching. On a revenue per employee basis, Allen & Company ranks near the top and very competitive with Qatalyst. The firm's transaction size "sweet spot" is between $200 million and $1 billion.
Culture and Compensation of Allen and Company
The firm is known to have a good culture. People are extremely accommodating, supportive, and respectful of each other's time. There is little busy work, and senior banker exposure is excellent. However, there is a lack of junior banker camaraderie given the lack of "home-grown analysts" (most of the junior bankers are lateral hires) and the conservative nature of the firm.
The firm has earned a reputation for being extremely secretive, but not in a good way. The firm is effectively a "black box": internal decisions are made behind strictly closed doors, and there is little communication within the office regarding high-level matters. When a large deal closes, or when a new senior banker joins the firm, or when someone retires, an employee will often first hear about it online.
The firm claims to have an "entrepreneurial" environment, but in reality, the culture is very stuffy and traditional. The firm is incredibly bureaucratic, as every decision must go through the CEO. The entrepreneurial part refers to the fact that MDs are paid 100% on revenues they bring in (30% cut), though other firms may employ a similar structure.
Compensation is in line with other banks, likely at the higher end.
Exit Oppertunities from A&C
Analysts do not get many looks from headhunters as a BB/EB/MM because of the small analyst classes and lack of name brand. However, a few Analysts have gone into growth equity, though these candidates were extraordinary. Most end up in corporate development, startups, and business school. This is not the firm to join if you are set on buy-side opportunities.
While the firm claims that it wants to hire career bankers at the Analyst level, essentially all of its Analysts exit. The majority of the firm's Associates and above are BB/EB/MM lateral Analysts who knew they wanted to stay in IB long-term, which is the same case at any other bank.
The junior bankers are very bright, but not ridiculously impressive. Many of the best undergraduate candidates will often leverage an offer at Allen & Company for something else (see below for reason).
Allen & Co Sun Valley Conference
This event is reserved exclusively for the Managing Directors, along with one or two select Vice Presidents and Associates. For all intents and purposes, this conference does not affect Analysts or Associates.
How to Get A Job with Allen & Co? The Recruiting Process
The firm will conduct OCR at a handful of schools and offer resume drops at others. These schools are not consistent year over year, nor do they have true "target" schools. The firm is open to recruiting from non-core schools.
The surest way to get a job at Allen & Company is to cold-email (see bottom for email format). Expect 1-3 phone screens before being invited to a superday in New York. Superday questions are a split between behavioral and standard M&I technical questions. For relationship hires, expect an easier interview process, or none at all. Recently, 1/4 of the class has been composed of relationship hires, and the rest normal hires.
Summer Analyst Positions for Allen & Co New York
Each summer class consists of 13-15 interns split among sophomores and juniors (overwhelmingly juniors). About 2/3 are placed in the M&A group and the rest into Capital Markets and Wealth Management. Sophomore interns have historically landed top-notch junior summer internships (BX, JPM, Lazard).
Note that sophomore interns who return to Allen & Company for their junior year are not guaranteed full-time offers.
All junior interns in M&A are eligible for one of three full-time spots in M&A, while junior interns in Capital Markets and Wealth Management do not have an opportunity to return full-time (the firm does not hire out of college for these divisions). The firm will also consider external candidates for full-time spots in M&A.
Converting a summer internship into a full-time position is extremely risky because most banks fill their full-time positions with summer interns. As a result, many top candidates will leverage an offer at Allen & Co. for something more secure. Overall, it is not recommended to intern there as a junior as the odds are not good (the firm prides itself on hiring based on relationships). But this all depends on your risk appetite.
Landing a Full Time Position at Allen & Co
For lateral hires, going through a headhunter is the best way, though you'll need to work in a TMT group or TMT focused firm. Otherwise, cold emailing would probably work best.
How to Find Contact Information for Bankers
While the firm does not have a website, you can still email employees there. For example, John Smith's email would be [email protected]. Use that email template along with LinkedIn to find employees at the firm. Both of the female Vice Presidents handle recruiting.
Review of Allen and Co
Allen & Company is a great firm for those interested in a long-term career in TMT investment banking. Many senior bankers joined as lateral hires from BB/EB/MM, and this is the recommended path.
Junior summer interns should be wary of the firm given the extremely low return offer rates, which are by far the lowest on Wall Street. Sophomore summer interns can easily leverage their experience at Allen & Company for a top junior summer internship elsewhere.
Overall, there is inconsistent brand quality among the firm. For those interested in a more well-rounded experience, better brand name, and better exit opportunities, a BB/EB tends to be a better bet.
Additional Comments about Culture and Reputation
Ignore ignorant posts posted elsewhere on this board. I'm gonna give you guys the true look inside Allen.
The office is near 5th avenue inside the Coca Cola building. They have butlers - and they wear uniform, usually just white collared wso/" rel="nofollow">shirt/black pants/black shoes.
Internship at the firm is a joke. You don't do shit. Literally. If I were interviewing and I see Allen & Co. on your resume, I'd really dig deep into what you did at the firm because interns don't do shit. They can leave after like 7PM (WTF?). FT analysts there also head out after 7-8PM. Very rare to see anyone at the office post 8PM, doesn't mean allnighters doesn't happen, but on average, their hours definitely doesn't deserve respect.
Exit opps are nearly non-existent. You might go to a small shop or lateral to another bank, but don't expect KKR/Carlyle. Allen is only hyped up on this board. No on in the real world/buyside take their analysts that seriously. You will be killed in PE recruiting by the traditional bulge bracket banks and elite boutiques.
Breaking into Allen as a SA isn't hard. GPA screen is a pretty big at the firm though. After that it's really about how "chill" you are and how big your tits are. They don't worry much about how much you know.
Your job security is pretty worrisome. I know Allen this summer took 12-13 kids for SA. Out of those only like 2 got hired. One was a relationship hire or something and the other is a Michigan guy. A majority of their candidates are relationship hires.
The trend is that most of their candidates are from OCR and networking, with a few relationship hires sprinkled in. As a result, interns are very qualified and get quality work. Because of the low return rate, only the best and most confident interns will accept an SA position there. However, the number of full-time spots (three per year) hasn't changed, and with the increased quality of the SA pool, the full-time conversion rate becomes even more difficult. Furthermore, family connections will come into play here.
Thought I'd give back a little. Allen & Co is recruiting OCR and info sessions at my non ivy league target/top tier semi target school which I find odd given its mystique on these boards. Their email structure is: (first name initial)(whole last name)@allenco.com so John Smith would be [email protected]
"In selecting candidates, Allen looks for well-rounded individuals with outstanding academic records, proven analytical skills and a genuine interest in or understanding of finance. Top candidates often demonstrate strong oral and written communication skills, initiative, proven leadership capabilities and the ability to play a key role as a team member in a fast-paced and challenging work environment.
Cover Letter, Unofficial Transcript"
While Allen & Company does do resume drops on a number of campuses, be clear about the role you're applying for. One of my sources interviewed for IBD and, after he accepted the offer for IBD, they placed him into Wealth Management on the first day of work.
Allen & Co. hires connected kids. That tends to be the clean, fresh-faced kids from good families who go to good schools. This isn't the scrappy hardworking second-generation kid who broke his back to get into Princeton. It's also not the old money like the Brahmins or families from the Social Register.
It's the kid whose family has been going to Stanford or UVA for four generations. The ones who come from quietly strong political families in Arizona, New Mexico, and California; who went to Andover, Choate, Thacher, Webb, and instead of going with their classmates into the Ivies, went back to the flagship state school (U of Arizona) because great-great-granddaddy was one of the first student body presidents ever before going on to be a senator or ambassador or something.
What I'm trying to paint here is that a lot of really qualified kids who sent in an application after finding out the firm's strong dealflow and reputation are always mystified how they never got an interview there while they wound up with offers at GS, Evercore, and JPM.
It's less about 'who are the very best interns we can hire' and more about 'who comes from the right people' and 'how can we get the kids who will best fit'. Since like attracts like, it's very often the sons and daughters of past or present employees, clients, or people otherwise economically or politically connected to the firm.
From what I've seen (on resumes from summers trying to lateral for full-time) and heard, summers don't get really technical work; it's a real resume-builder in that the firm's name carries a lot of weight and chances are you can put a headline deal in your bullet points, but the exposure you get is often qualitative and on the strategic advisory side rather than the execution side.
The ones who succeeded trying to lateral (e.g. the girl who went to BX [PJT] after summering there) self-taught modeling and/or were able to really spin their story favorably.
This post is mostly true. Not all the employees fit that background, but many do. This is part of the reason why Analyst exits have generally been subpar. From a summer internship standpoint, the qualitative vs. technical experience will depend on the intern's skill set.
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