AllianceBernstein vs. BlackRock (FT)

Which opportunity is better for buy-side investment research? 

AB: Rotational program where I'll rotate across fundamental research, quant research, and other departments. End goal is to join the fundamental research team after the rotational program. Small associate class size which I like.

BlackRock: Generalist offer where I'll be placed within research, strategy, or portfolio management based on business needs. There's a chance I'll be placed on strategy or portfolio management which I'm not interested in and will try to lateral into research. On the other hand, there's a chance to be placed within research (vs. doing the two years of rotations at AB). Huge analyst class size which I dislike but the teams I'd join are small which I like.

Would appreciate any advice. Thanks

Comments (6)

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Jan 5, 2022 - 3:03pm

1) AB seems to have a higher probability of placement into fundamental research due to the rotational aspect of the program. I'd also network like crazy with the team during my rotations while Blackrock's chances seem much lower. During the interview process, the director said there was 1 spot available in research. So AB wins here.

2) I have no clue about this and would love to hear other's thoughts.

Jan 5, 2022 - 3:06pm

Well there is 1 spot available RIGHT NOW. It could get filled before you end your 1.5-year or 2-year rotation (unless it's shorter duration?). You have better visibility on research openings during your last rotation. But I wholeheartedly support you start "building the hooks" (making connections) now with the research people internally. 

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  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
Jan 6, 2022 - 12:38pm

I worked at AB on the sellside for 2 years in the Associate program - so I can offer a bit of insight since we had a lot of interaction with the program you're looking at (went thru same orientation, had networking events, associate education and learning events were co-mingled etc etc.)

A big question here is whether the program for BlackRock is active management vs passive. The research team at AB will be actually researching single stock ideas and recommending them to PMs for investment decisions (like a hedgefund but no shorting or crazy strategies). Blackrock is traditionally a passive indexing manager, but they do have a smaller active arm - I would make absolutely sure that this is the one you'd be placed on if you were to go with Blackrock. I don't even really know what the strategy or portfolio management side of Blackrock would be if passive, but I guarantee it is not what you are picturing it is. Probably more middle office execution and sales strategy / what new ETFs to try to make. If you want to actually work in investing, this is not that, whereas the AB program is.

Overall touching on AB, the culture is great and it's a top notch firm. It isn't a household name as much because they don't have a retail presence like Fidelity etc, but they are very well known in the industry and highly respected - akin to a Wellington or Capital Group. I attended a good amount of 'lunch and learn' events with buyside folks where they'd bring in PMs to talk about their career and investing style, and it was pretty cool, I definitely would have loved to work for any of them. Overall internal mobility is very good as well, saw tons of people move around within teams on the buyside side, over to the sellside, to the wealth management divison and vice versa. I am biased of course, but based on what I know from seeing the AB programs, and the likelihood that what you'd be doing at Blackrock is passive product management vs real investing, I'd take AB.

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Jan 6, 2022 - 4:42pm

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